New research is suggesting babies learn to talk by watching how people speak and form words, and not just from hearing sounds.

Florida scientists have discovered that starting around six months of age babies begin to shift their attention away from eye gaze and start to study peoples mouths when they talk to them.

It does not take them long to absorb the information. .  Generally one year of age babies start begin returning their attention to the eyes.  However if they hear an unusual sound, like from a foreign language, they will return their attention to the lips in order to learn how to make the sound.

So what does all this mean.

Really it is just more support showing parents need to spend quality time with their babies, talking to them and reading to them.  This is far more important than just giving babies something to do, or watching the TV.  By taking the time and reading to babies so they can hear the words and see you speak, or just talking to them you can help your child learn to speak better and quicker.

When looking for a child care for your child you should also take this need into account when reviewing programs.  Be looking for child care providers who read to babies, and that have a ratio low enough to allow them to talk to each child several times during the day.

It looks like learning to speak is even more complex than we had ever thought.