Have you ever stopped to wonder why the minute you go to talk to a baby, your voice does the familiar high-pitched, sing-song tone? Commonly referred to as “baby talk”, the assumption is typically because we find newborns cute. In the same way your voice changes when you talk to puppies or kittens, it’s just something which happens that you don’t tend to question.
However, experts claim there’s more behind the natural baby talk tone than you might think. In fact, it’s said that it could really help your little one develop speech recognition at an earlier age. So is this true or is baby talk actually damaging your child’s development?
How Can It Help With Development?
According to some experts, the sing-song voice you naturally do when speaking to your baby is easier for them to understand. Their hearing isn’t fully developed, so it’s thought they can recognise some sounds a lot easier than others. Therefore, by talking to them in a high-pitched, sing-song style voice, you’re making it easier for them to understand and learn language.
Some studies have shown that babies who were talked to in a “baby voice” developed language earlier than those who didn’t. However, contrasting research has shown that rather than help development, baby talk could actually slow down your little one’s language development. So what should you believe?
Why There Are Doubts To Baby Talk’s Effectiveness
The main reason some researchers doubt that baby talk positively impacts baby’s language skills is because of the clarity of the words being taught. A Japanese study published in the Psychological Science Journal showed that mothers generally speak a lot less clearly to their little ones than they do to adults.
Now, logically you could link this to what we mentioned earlier – the fact that a baby’s hearing is better at detecting words in a sing-song voice. However, the research shows that this isn’t the case. Babies can detect words, even when they are spoken in a more unclear manner, something the researchers find remarkable. However, they also understand words being said in a more adult tone. This means the tone of voice you use could have very little to do with your baby’s development and more to do with the baby themselves.
So Will It Harm My Infant’s Development If I Use A Baby Voice?
Absolutely not! Adults have been reverting to baby talk for decades now and it’s shown no signs of slowing down development. Using baby words is also fine too such as “moo-moo” for cow and “Da-Da” for daddy.
The tone of your voice isn’t going to have that much of an impact on how your baby learns to talk. If anything, it’s simply going to put a big smile on their face! Babies love high-pitched baby talk. If you use shorter words, they’re also more going to find it easier to repeat them and you’ll often notice them babbling back at you!
So overall, it’s best not to pay too much attention to conflicting research. Your baby voice is something you enjoy using and your baby enjoys hearing and that of course, is the only thing that matters.