Why It’s A Good Idea to Ditch ‘Baby Talk’

Everybody adores a baby’s babbling and baby talk is totally unavoidable while communicating to your baby. However in the long run when it comes to your baby and learning it is best to stick to the point and to avoid using baby talk.

Parents all over the world speak to their children differently than they do to adults. With their young children, parents switch to a method of interaction known to linguists as “motherese” or infant-directed speech, and more accurately described as baby talk, a type of speech characterized by long pauses and a roller coaster of pitch modifications.

What Is Baby Talk?

Baby talk is when you use words and sentences in such a way that you think your baby will understand you better. It’s using shorter words, incomplete sentences and made up diminutives such as “ducky” instead of “duck” or “doggy” instead of “dog”. Why, because it’s adorable and cute and eventually you are going to teach your baby the correct words, but in the long run you are creating double work for yourself and making it difficult for your baby.

Creating a Bond with your Child

How does all of this baby talk help your baby? The most obvious method is to simply get your baby’s attention — all of those melodic and rhythmic properties are excellent attention-getters for babies (and for adults too, for that matter, though they might give you a funny look). Getting a baby’s attention is a good thing!

The more language directed at a child, the more language they learn and the faster they process the language they hear. Furthermore, infant-directed speech effectively communicates emotions and aids in the establishment of a bond between caregiver and infant.

Is this to say that caregivers should be encouraged to talk to their children? Without a doubt! In the many communities we tested, babies preferred baby talk, and other research strongly supports how beneficial this is for babies.

When Is Baby Talk Beneficial?

As your baby grows older she will watch and absorb everything you do like a sponge. One of the important milestones is of course talking. You as the parent are responsible to help your baby to learn new words and sounds as she grows older.

Teaching your baby to talk takes time. It doesn’t only take plenty of time, effort and hard work to constantly repeat the same word over and over again, but you also need to use the right words. Imagine your baby just learned the word “juicy” and now she needs to refer to the same object and learn a new word “juice”. This creates confusion.

When Do Babies Start Talking

All babies are different and some might start talking sooner than others. Usually a baby will start saying their first words at around the age of 6 months. Your baby will say the words “mama” and “papa” or “baba” and will bring tears of joy to your eyes when you hear it the first time. When babies are about the age if 18 months to two years they are able to speak more words and form short sentences.

Ways To Help Baby Talk

There are plenty of ways to help your baby to talk. Like I mentioned before all babies are different so the best is to look out for clues. Start repeating the same words over and over again when you speak to your baby.

Repeat the same words over and over again

Praise your baby when she gets it right

When referring to specific objects name them

Read to your baby

Elaborate on things when talking

Tell your baby what you are doing

Pay attention to your baby and let them lead

According to new research on babies and language development published in the journal Pediatrics, fathers may need to speak up. From birth to seven months, mothers converse with their infants more than fathers, and those infants are also more likely to respond to their mothers’ voices, according to the study. Another interesting finding was that mothers in the study responded to their infant daughters’ babble more frequently.

The takeaway: All babies benefit from conversation and should hear as much as possible from both parents.


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