At almost one year or older, babies would begin to talk. Being able to utter sounds is a great accomplishment for them and makes them think they really are able to communicate. But how should we respond?
A lot of people baby-talk their babies as well. They imitate the sounds that babies make when trying to talk, first because they think babies are better able to relate to those sounds, and second because they find them cute. But other people advise against baby-talking babies and insist that adults should talk to them in adult language—perfect pronunciation, grammar, and all.
So, which one is correct?
Studies discovered that responding to babies’ babbles and baby sounds by imitating them actually helps them initially develop their brain and speech skills. The sounds and babbles may have no meaning to adults, but the process of talking and listening—and the dynamics involved, like verbal feedback and the bidirectional nature of talking—is developed. Response, like talking and listening, regardless of form (whether adult or baby language), is always a wonderful thing and gives babies assurance that you are interested and you care.
Experts advise that adults should always give importance when a baby tries to communicate. Look at the baby, listen, smile, and respond. They advise, though, that baby language shouldn’t be the sole language used when responding to a baby. We should also introduce adult language together with baby talk, and gradually do away with it altogether while the baby is in infanthood. [INPOSTLB]
The baby talk is a powerful way to connect with the baby and the baby world. But then, your baby also needs to connect with the adult world eventually. So do both adult and baby language in equal proportions, gradually increasing adult language in the process until your baby talks straight adult language. The earlier the baby does this, the better.
The high-pitched and melodic sounds of the baby talking we do seem to have an acoustic quality that infants love. As we respond to them in this manner, they are encouraged to talk more and interact. They begin to feel they belong and are a part of the family. But make sure to frequently introduce them to adult language through singing and story reading, aside from talking.
Moreover, putting them to sleep with adult language lullabies help them get familiar with words and their pronunciation. What we hear when we are near the sleep threshold registers well into our subconscious, some psychologists say.
Baby talk isn’t all that bad, but you should not overdo it either. Adult talk is necessary for your baby’s transition into the adult world, too.