Researchers looked at 12-month-olds’ vocalisations, gestures and gazes, and at how caregivers responded

Babies who frequently communicate with their caregivers using eye contact and vocalisations at the age of one are more likely to develop greater language skills by the time they reach two, according to new research.

Scientists say the findings should encourage parents to pay close attention to babies’ attempts to communicate before they can use words, and to respond to them. In the study, researchers looked at 11- and 12-month-old babies’ vocalisations, gestures and gaze behaviours, and at how their caregivers responded to them. “These have never been looked at together in the same analysis before,” said Dr Ed Donnellan, from the University of Sheffield, the lead author on the study.

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