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How to master ‘Baby Talk’ (and why you should)

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Many of us instinctively know that constant talking with a baby or toddler is important to their development. But it may be even more important that we realize: AAs research on child development shows, encouraging a child’s language development isn’t just about the number of words he hears:it’s also about the back-and-forth interactions between a child and their caregiver.

“Twenty or thirty years ago, there was a feeling that it’s just about the number of words kids hear,” he said. Rebecca Parlakian, a child development expert with the nonprofit organization Zero to Three. “But really, babies and toddlers don’t learn the language of lectures; they learn language when we have engaging and responsive interactions with them.”

How Interaction Helps Babies Develop Language

Even with a baby, respond to his cooing and gurgling with language like “Are you a hungry boy? it is part of how they begin to learn the language. When they get a little older, it’s the back-and-forth nature of language, where a young child might say, “What’s that?” with his parents responding,”It’s a puppy!” that’s really laying the groundwork for learning a language.

“Children learn language best when they are in a relationship with someone who responds to them and engages with them,” Parlakian said.

When your toddler asks you what something is, In addition to answering your question, it is helpful to provide additional information:that help to answer questions they cannot verbalize. “Young children are speechless at that time because they don’t have the vocabulary,” Parlakian said.

So if you follow by saying Something like, “Oh Look, the puppy is sniffing the tree.” this extends the conversation beyond the initial question of “What is that?” and helps answer some of your non-verbal communications of “what’s going on?”

“When we talk about births to three-year-olds, most of the way they communicate, at least up to age two, is through gestures, facial expressions, and vocalizations, but not necessarily words,” Parlakian said. “It’s a lot of noticing, responding to cues, and using language to label, narrate, and respond to what interests our children.”

Use descriptive language

Most of our interactions with our children tend to use very utilitarian language, such as “Did you pick up your toys? either “Are you hungry?” While those are certainly important, parents should also be aware of the introduction of new vocabulary words. During a child’s early days, it is Okay try Be as descriptive as possible when talking about your surroundings. As you talk about a walk around the neighborhood, could you point to a cat fluffy fur, the tall sunflowers, or the puffy white clouds in the sky.

Other good way to present idiom that you might not otherwise use in your everyday life is reading books with your children. We may not talk about pirates who need to listen, or very hungry caterpillars, either little engine that could on a regular basisso books provide an opportunity to expand their vocabulary.

“Sharing books, singing, making rhymes, all of these experiences are exposing children to unique vocabulary words,” Parlakian said. “Books, in particular, use a lot of words that we don’t use in everyday speech.”

“Baby talk” is a natural instinct that we should embrace

The natural instinct, when talking to a baby or young child, is to use what researchers callparenthesis,” which is characterized by elongated syllables and emphasis on key words. As Parlakian points out, this is an instinct found all over the world that parents should embrace. “Almost every culture uses a form of parentheses,” Parlakian said. “It seems to be something unconscious.”

There is evidence to show that the use of parentese can help with a child’s language development, and that the more back-and-forth interactions a parent has, especially in the early months and years, the better. For parents who are concerned that their child language is not older.appropriate, we actually adjust it instinctively as well.

“PParents unconsciously tend to use parentese and unconsciously, they tend to adjust their language as their child grows,” Parlakian said. In other wordsAs children grow older, parents tend to modify the use of parentese, adjusting to the needs of their children, without doing so consciously.

“As our children’s language grows and becomes more complex, we adults, as their caregivers, unconsciously match the complexity of their language,” Parlakian said.


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