Studies Show Language Development in Babies Strongly Affected by NOT Using Baby Talk
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Studies Show Language Development in Babies Strongly Affected by NOT Using Baby Talk

It is very cute and only natural to goo goo our newborn babies, but is all this baby talk doing them any good. To give our babies a head start in language development it may be better to speak to them with real language.

One mistake new parents make is thinking that their new baby is not in need of communication by words. So often you see new parents talking to their children in “baby talk” which is cute and fun and really, can we even help ourselves? But we also need to speak to them in real words and sentences. Studies have show that these words may actually have meaning for babies before they can speak.

The study shows that this talking to babies in actual words may help their cognitive development and actually helps the brain to form categories. Babies that are able to associate a meaningful word to a picture or object, rather than a sound are better able to categorize. Which helps them later with their language skills and development.

And there was another study published in Child Development, which was shared with us at the hospital where I work. The study group consisted of 46 3-4 month old babies. They were all shown a series of pictures that had words associated with them or they were shown a picture with a sound associated with it. They all were then tested for categorization skills by being shown different pictures but of the same category as the test pictures. They were interested in how long the babies would look at the photos. If the baby looked at the picture for a long time they had formed a category. The pictures associated with a word rather than a sound were the pictures that the babies looked at longest thus indicating a familiar categorization had taken place in the babies brain.

I have friends that actually speak meaningfully to their babies while actually still in utero. Actually reading to them or playing music to them. They report that while the baby is being read to or spoken to that the baby seems to calm down as if listening. And the music played will determine the activity inside the womb. Soft lilting music will calm the baby and fast loud music will make the baby speed up its activity as if it were moving with the music like dancing.

Also these same babies after being born will bond much quicker with the parents, both parents if both are talking to them while still in the womb. And they will learn language skills including reading, much more easily and much much earlier. I have met some children who are reading at a more advanced level than children 2-3 years older than them and starting 2-3 years sooner.

I think this is fascinating because the potential for learning is basically untapped especially in infants.


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Comments (11)

This is an interesting article! Sometimes people just don't know that they 're making a mistake.

yes that is absolutely true, we never spoke baby talk to our son and he was a very fast speech learner

Makes sense baby's are smarter then we think

Read about this too. Even in the womb, we used to play some classical music using a speaker onto the navel of my wife. This must have helped my child a lot; she's performing so well in school especially in logical reasoning.

I can't help talking to babies in baby talk. I know your right though, because it has been proven to talk to them like we talk everyday. It does make them smarter children and makes them sound out their words better. They probably won't have a speach problem when they start talking either. voted up

Very good information. I never spoke baby talk to any of my kids. People always tell me what a large vocabulary my kids have, I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not, but I like to think so.

I couldn't agree more. Though many talk to babies in baby talk it is annoying for others to listen to them talk like that and it gets more and more annoying if they continue to talk to children from 2-4 years in the same way. Like many children cannot speak some words correctly and some adults find it cute perhaps and use the same words as the children in the way children speak them out. Honestly you cannot except from children to get smart by talking to them like a baby. I would also find it very interesting with what would a study came up if they would study infants who listen to more than one language. Like English and French or something. Very good article.

This was a very important piece, with a well-structured argument backed up with research. Excellent post, thanks for sharing.

Speaking to the child in complete sentences works wonders. I used to do that with my baby.even before he was born. We barely spoke any baby talk to him at home. Only the grandmas did that when they could. He's five years old now and perfectly fluent in two languages. Amazes everyone who hears him switch with ease between both the languages.

that is remarkable Cashmere, You've done a very good job. thanks to everyone for commenting, I really appreciate the support.

The amazing thing is that I wrote an article on this (elsewhere) because when my kid was little a doctor said he could tell which kids were only kids and which were older siblings because typically when a kid is an only kid the parents talk in adult language more than when their is a younger sibling that the parents still talk baby talk too.. I never did talk baby talk to my kid.. I find it annoying.. heck it even bothers me when adults refer to all dogs as PUPPIES.. I think that sets up kids to think dogs are safe.. although I know thats not real baby talk.. Excellent info.!