Baby talk: in one way or another, we all have a special way of talking to our babies. It turns out that parantese, or the practice of speaking to your baby in short, simple sentences with highly enunciated words, elongated vowels and animated expressions and vocals is a very good practice! Way to go, moms! This is a practice that has been passed down from generation to generation, so it’s essentially in our nature to do this. I’m not talking about the Berenstain Bears, cootchie-cootchie-coo kind of talk either—I’m talking about narrating every single thing that you’re doing in a fun, easy-to-learn way.
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How is baby talking good for baby language development?
The Washington Post recently published an article about a study from the University of Washington in which experts found that baby talk or parenthese helps BIG TIME with speech and language development. The study says that the elongated vowels, high-pitched, animated expressions and short, simple sentences help infants learn language in a way that gets their attention and helps them to learn to speak and understand language. Furthermore, babies will respond to baby talk or parantese in a foreign language that they don’t speak—their parents don’t speak it, the babies don’t speak it, and they won’t ever learn how to speak it. Really cool, isn’t it?
Of course, as your baby grows older, experts also recommend that you start to speak to them in more complex, elaborate sentences so that they continue to achieve their baby developmental milestones. Plenty of studies have shown that the more words children are exposed to at a younger age, the better. This doesn’t mean that you have to introduce spelling bee-worthy words, just new ones. Try narrating every single step of your day with your baby: “I’m changing your diaper now! Look at this cute little blue shirt!” or “OK, time for night-night!” Even if you don’t feel like you’re baby understands you, you are teaching your baby to talk. It’s great to talk to your child in this animated, fun way because it helps them to grapple with the meaning of words, and they’ll learn new words faster. They’ll also think that language is fun!