New studies are being released, warning about the dangers of parents and caregivers being too absorbed in modern technology to appropriately communicate with their children. Many experts agree that speaking to and properly interacting with babies or young children as they grow up has positive, far-reaching effects for their developing brains.
While "baby talk" is simply using nonsense words to coddle and interact with a baby, there are alternative ways to talk with babies. PBS writes that speaking "parentese" is incredibly beneficial to babies in aiding their language and cognitive development. Here are a few helpful questions and answers for parents, caregivers and child care professionals who want to speak this musical "language" to their children:
What is it exactly? Parentese is a sing-song way of speaking that is accompanied with sometimes comically exaggerated facial expressions. This is essentially the way most individuals talk with babies. The only difference is that you are speaking short, simple sentences instead of garbled nonsense. It is very beneficial for children to hear their native language in this engaging way.
How does it help? Babies need to be fully exposed to their native language. Instead of watering down their language, using short phrases and sentences can help them better "map" out the sounds and structures they are hearing.
How do I speak it? If you vary your pitch, tone, elongate vowels and try to convey what you are saying through your expressions and gestures as well, you can be fluent in parentese.