From the time he was in utero up through now, I've always read, sang, smiled, talked, babbled, listened to, pointed at, and loved my son. As he got older, he began communicating back with me in his own way with little babbles and squeals. We now have back and forth conversations, me talking and him babbling away. Though I don't understand what he's saying, I know it's important that I give him responses. That kind of interaction encourages communication and enhances his language skills that will be coming soon. This type of repetitive communication will help his language skills develop quicker as he hears the same words over and over and learns to connect them to their meanings.
A lot of people say that humans are lifelong learners, but learning is crucial for children from the point they're born up through age five. This is the time in their life when billions of connections are being made and stored in their brains. We as parents can help shape these connections through interaction and communication.
I have learned the best way that we can build our children's brains from the day they are born is to simply talk to them. There is nothing more important to our children's development than the serve and return process. When our children want to talk with us, let's make the resolution to listen and speak back to them - regardless of how tired we may feel at the time. A few minutes of conversation will help our children be prepared for conversations in school and life beyond.