Your Baby is Reading Your Lips

in Early Childhood in the News

We have new evidence that quality face time with your little one is key for language development. Scientists have known that babies look to grown-up’s faces, especially the eyes, for important language cues. But new research appearing in the National Academy of Sciences finds babies at 6 months switch from studying eyes to studying mouths when grown-ups talk to them. Babies want to see how lips make sounds.

The Boston Globe and Science News reports a study by developmental psychologist, David Lewkowicz, and his doctoral student Amy Hansen-Tift. Their research confirms that 6 to 8 month old babies want to match up what grown-ups say with how they say it. “Babies start to lip-read when they learn to babble,” Lewkowicz says. “At that time, infants respond to what they see and hear as a unified stimulus.”

Parents take note. Babies love faces. They look and listen for information. Learning to read faces for talking and interpreting non-verbal communication is a skill, and babies need lots of practice.

“… babies need human time in their earliest years. Not computer time. Not television time. Your baby’s brain needs interaction with you, in person, on a consistent basis.”  —John Medina

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