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How do you communicate with your baby? Little ones cannot express themselves very well for at least the first few months of their lives, with most babies saying their first simple words only around their first birthday. But that doesn’t mean moms and babies don’t communicate till then! As mothers, your communication with your baby happens through several channels – sound, sight and touch. The most natural way of communication with babies is through baby talk. As per latest research, using baby talk in the right way can build your baby’s brain and help them talk sooner! Let’s learn how.
How to help my baby talk? This is a common question many mothers have. One method many mothers use for speaking to a baby (and thus teaching them to speak) is through baby talk, also called infant directed speech or ‘Motherese’.
Motherese is a special kind of method to communicate with your baby and it involves distinctive modifications in speech. You don’t actually have to learn how to speak in motherese; you just need to know a few tricks. These include speaking to the babies using upbeat tones, using facial gestures, raising the pitch a little bit, slowing down the rate of speech, and exaggerating the main syllable. So, is talking to your newborn in Motherese just for fun or is it actually useful?
Experts Recommend: Use Baby Talk for Brain Development
As per recent research conducted at Princeton University, baby talk, or motherese, plays a crucial role in a child’s development. This further strengthens older research on the subject that suggests a strong connection between baby talk and brain development.
Time and again, experts have observed the impact of motherese on brain development. It has been found that babies whose mothers spoke to them in motherese showed faster and better signs of brain development, compared to babies whose mothers spoke in a normal adult tone or spoke less frequently.
If you speak baby talk with your child, it has been proven to help them in the following ways –
1. Early Talkers
It helps your child grasp the complexities of language sooner. According to the study, it helps babies to segment a huge stream of words into the building blocks of language
2. Sharper Brain
As motherese stimulates the brain of the baby, it touches upon the parts of brain responsible for language development and motor development. Even when infants are simply listening to motherese, there is distinct activation in the motor areas of the brain. Your baby’s brain is engaged in trying to talk back right from the beginning. This fosters brain development at a faster speed
3. More Social
It helps your child connect with the world around, thus building social skills
What’s even more interesting is that this role is universal across languages. The researchers found that the basic timbre/tone of baby talk is the same even in languages like Spanish, Hebrew, Russian and Polish. Says Elise Piazza, study author, “We found that mothers alter this basic quality of their voices when speaking to infants, and they do so in a highly consistent way across many diverse languages.”
The study has been published in the journal Current Biology. It only furthers a belief that all mothers agree with – love is universal, and there’s nothing like mommy’s voice to make the little one happy and smart!
How To Talk in Motherese With Your Baby
Here are some useful tips on how to talk to your newborn in motherese. These tips will help you use baby talk for your little one’s overall development:
1. Use Your Own Voice & Meaningful Words
This is the most important tip to remember when speaking in motherese. Do not use gibberish words or a different voice. Instead, use meaningful words in an exaggerated manner, and say them in your own voice with a baby-friendly tone. For example – instead of saying “good morning” we can say “gooouud morningggg”! You may assume that what babies understand from baby talk is very little, but little ones are smarter than we give them credit for!
Watch: How many of these language milestones has your baby reached yet?
2. Combine Mmotherese with Face Time
The meaning of face time is how much time a mother spends with the baby for one on one interaction. Engaging the child in communication is extremely crucial for the brain development of the child right from the time your baby is born. Using motherese when talking to your baby along with facial gestures and hand movements activates the baby’s brain and makes the baby wanting to respond, which stimulates the nerve cells in the baby’s brain.
3. Sing in Motherese While Looking at Your Baby
Psychologists believe that singing stimulates a baby’s brain centre for both language and brain development. When you are talking to your baby you can talk in a musical way. It is also a good idea to list your baby’s favourite songs and play them to him every day. This is a beneficial activity for baby talking development.
A Word of Caution
A recent observation is that many parents give gadgets to children when they are very young. Yes, they help calm the baby or grab his attention. Time is always a battle which parents, especially working mothers, are struggling with. However, it is very important to be mindful of the fact that if children get used to these devices it will only harm their vision and brain development. Make sure you engage your baby in conversation as far as possible, as opposed to gadgets.
Motherese has proven benefits for your baby’s development. Baby talk and language development are closely linked. So go ahead and get chatting as much as you can!