Trust targets talk with unborn baby
A fifth of expectant parents are unaware of the need to talk to their baby, research suggests.
Some 19pc of parents-to-be believe their child will only benefit from being spoken to from three months old or do not know when to start talking to them, according to a survey published in the UK by the National Literacy Trust.
One in 20 thought communicating with their child would only be necessary when they reach six months or older.
The latest findings, published to coincide with the launch of the trust's Talk to Your Baby campaign, are part of wider research commissioned to mark the National Year of Communication.
The survey, which questioned around 3,000 parents and parents-to-be, found more than a third of expectant parents (38pc) and a similar proportion of parents (37pc) were unaware of any benefit in talking to their baby while it is still in the womb.
Some 5pc of expectant parents thought a child's speech and language skills "happen naturally", and they have no role to play in helping them develop.
The findings also reveal that almost one in four (23pc) of parents and nearly a fifth (19pc) of parents-to-be believed that a third or less of their baby's brain development will have happened by the time they are two.
In reality, 70pc of a baby's brain development has happened by this point.
National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas said: "Few moments in life are more magical than the first time you hear your baby talk. It's the start of a lifelong conversation.
"But we want parents to understand that talking with your baby doesn't have to involve words. Your baby cooing, babbling or even simply holding your gaze is a way of them communicating.
"The Talk to Your Baby campaign aims to help parents understand that by responding positively to their baby's earliest attempts at communication and taking every opportunity to talk with their baby they will build their child's confidence and help them develop language skills that will be with them for life."