It's important to connect with a baby to help language learning and attachment. Developing empathy brings understanding of baby's social and emotional needs.

Who baby needs

Watch this short video. In it, Tākai community champion Latu To'omaga talks to Vicky Ellison about the importance of connecting with a baby (through direct gaze) and using your voice to convey empathy and love. Even a big strong man can melt when he sees his baby.

What a young baby needs | Takikōrero (YouTube)(external link) 

Talking face to face

Baby will like gazing at faces and watching how your mouth moves while you talk. However, we don't do it only because baby likes it but also because this is how language learning happens and attachment relationships are developed.

Try the following activity. It reinforces the value of talking face to face with baby and explains how to do it.

Face to face talking(external link) 


'Parentese' is a way of speaking to young babies that they are most responsive to.

Use the following workshop to show the power of parentese. The activities are fun to do with a small group, and whānau may like to try it with their friends.

What pēpi loves to hear(external link) 


In the video Latu talks about empathy. The following article explores the development of empathy – the ability to 'tune into' another person's feelings and thoughts.

Building empathy(external link) 

Aroha atu, aroha mai

Look at You – Aroha Atu, Aroha Mai is a 25-minute video that helps us to understand a baby's social and emotional needs in their first 3 months.

The video is available in English, Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands Māori, and Niuean.

Look at you – Aroha Atu, Aroha Mai | Counties Manukau Health.(external link)

More information about the video can be found on this page: Aroha atu, aroha mai video | Tākai.(external link)