“When my son was this age I didn’t sing or talk to him — I thought that he didn’t need it,” says Maria, who appears in the video below with her baby daughter and husband. “But through you and Welcome Baby, I learned that I need to talk to them since they are born. I see how important it is to talk and sing to them at an early age.”
Talking and singing — it’s simple stuff that any mom or dad can do, but it doesn’t come automatically to all parents of newborns. (After all, babies aren’t always good at holding up their end of a conversation. And vocal harmony? Forget it.)
Maria is not alone: Many parents don’t realize the power of consistently talking, reading, and singing to their babies. As we wrote here, this kind of stimulation helps build and strengthen neural connections that lay the foundation for healthy brain development. The interaction also helps with parent-child bonding. That’s why home visitors and parent coaches in the Family Strengthening Network remind new parents to make a habit of talking, reading, and singing to their little ones. (See our “Talk Read Sing” resources and learn more about the nationwide campaigns, Too Small to Fail and Talking Is Teaching.)
Of course, this is only one of the many ways home visiting helps parents give their little ones the best start in life. Families in Welcome Baby and its partner home visiting programs also get personal support with breastfeeding, early childhood development, and home safety. They also learn about other free community resources that can help their families. Learn more about these free services.
The family in this video receives services from Families in Good Health, one of several home visiting agencies in the Family Strengthening Network in L.A. County. Families in Good Health is based at Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, one of 14 hospitals that offer the free Welcome Baby program. A big thanks to Alma Marin, the terrific home visitor who works with this family and introduces them in the video.
To enroll in or learn more about the Welcome Baby program at St. Mary Medical Center, call 562-491-4841.