Everyone has experienced that strange sensation… You’re around a newborn and instantly the baby talk starts. Rumors that baby talk stunts communication in infants and toddlers have circled parenting magazines for years, so why is it such a natural response for adults to go gaga over the little ones? According to a recent WebMD interview, there is a very good reason.
As it turns out, the reaction may not be harmful after all. “Studies show that babies learn to speak sooner if they’re addressed using infant-directed speech — short, simple sentences delivered with a higher pitch and exaggerated intonation.” Daniel J. Siegel, MD, author of The Whole-Brain Child, says it all has to do with the way pre-language brains function. Because the right brain, which controls communication, is more active during this stage, a parent who coos will be much more effective at creating shared communication with their child.
“The repetitive gestures we make with babies also improve their language skills and cognitive development. (At last: an explanation for peekaboo!) When we engage in these types of “mirroring behaviors” with babies, what we’re really doing is acknowledging them, making them feel seen and heard.”
Really, baby talk is helping children everywhere get a sense of self in the world. Isn’t that sweet?!