In yet another installment of “I was wrong about everything,” today it’s about the way we talk to children. Before kids I didn’t understand the difference. I was like “Hi, small child. How’s the weather? OK, now go away.”
But now, I put a little enthusiasm in my voice and enunciate, ask questions about their toys, count and point out colors. I sound excited about silly small things. And they respond! I had always said if I had a child I’d talk to them like adults. None of this silly baby talk stuff. But I didn’t understand there’s something beyond baby talk, and communicating with your toddler in a way that’s tailored toward them not only gets their attention but helps them communicate as well.
And I’m not talking about using made-up words and baby stuff here, I’m talking about really communicating. Using real words, pronounced clearly so they can understand what things are and how to say them. My two-year-old can speak clearly enough to ask my iPad to play car videos for him. He actually has practiced saying words so he can speak to the iPad and get what he asks for almost every time.
So I guess I do speak to my child like an adult after all. Just a really happy, excited, observant, quizzical adult that loves pointing out colors and counting things.
Categories: Mom Life
Great article! You’re really on to something here. To confirm, all seven of my children are often praised for their amazing vocabularies. I never used “baby” talk. Ever! I spoke as if I would speak to a friend but with a higher pitch and a more enthusiastic tone. It’s been my experience that, even as toddlers, children can be poly-syllabic if we only allow them to be. XOX
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Yes! The higher pitch helps too. I actually read somewhere that children respond better to a higher pitched voice because usually that would be the sound of mom. It’s no surprise they respond so well to Elmo!
I get it. I don’t baby talk to my kids once they start talking (but I do baby talk to my tiny babies) and tru and Levi have an awesome vocabulary and talk very clearly. Much better than their peers, if I was going to compare. (let’s be clear here…. I do compare. Lol) I’ve never been an overly exuberant person, so being excited and talking in an expressive and happy voice is a real challenge for me, but I do try. 😉
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It takes an effort for me too. And we ALL compare! lol