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Baby Talk, Or Not?
If you want to hear what you sound like, listen to your little one. I've been reminded of this lately, as my not-so-little one has been talking baby talk to me. It's driving me crazy. We are long past the days of "milky," "choo-choo," and "night-night." We are to the phase of milk, trains and nighttime and those are the words that I would like to hear come out of her mouth.
Where DID she get those baby talk words?
Gulp. It's all me and my motherese, otherwise known as parentese or child-directed speech. It's all about how I talk to this little one, my tone of voice, speech patterns, and vocabulary. My little one may be growing, but sometimes I find it too easy (and more fun) to resort to the days of talking to her like she is still cradled in my arms.
If you are holding an infant in your arms (first off, good job being a multi-tasking mama!), you may be wondering what is wrong with baby talk, or parentese. The truth? Nothing! In fact, it is the best way to get a response from your infant.
Researchers have concluded that infants actually prefer to listen to this type of speech. Researchers also believe that baby talk is an important part of the emotional bonding process between infants and adults and helps babies acquire speech. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Wisconsin found that using “baby talk” may actually help babies learn words faster.
And, want to get your little one's attention? It's been proven that infants pay more attention when parents use parentese, which tends to be slower and have a more repetitive tone than regular speech patterns. Parentese, motherese, and child-directed speech don't just happen with the English language, they have global appeal. Parents, no matter where they are in the world, resort to baby talk.
As for this mama of a preschooler, it may be time to re-think some of the words I am using and the ways I am talking to my little one. What do you think?
Do you talk baby talk to your little one?
Do you think it helps or hinders their language development?
For me, the pros and cons of baby talk being appropriate (or not) are all about age and stage.
In this household; it's time for us all to grow up a little.
Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child developme...Read More