Is it OK to use “baby talk” with your child?

2019.11.08

Parents are often confused as to whether they should use “baby words” like “wanwan”, “manma” with their child.
Among those who are passionate about education, there are mixed messages: some feel that parents should not use “baby words” while some research shows that using these words is effective. In this article, we will introduce the research results regarding the use of “baby talk” and what can be gained from this research.

Is it OK to use “baby talk” with your child?

Should parents use “baby talk” or not?

Below are some negative opinions about using “baby talk” with your child.

・ It will save time later to teach your child the correct vocabulary “dog”, “car” from the beginning instead of teaching them “baby talk” first and then having to correct it later.

・ Babies copy the words and actions of the people around them so parents should act as a role model and use the correct language from the beginning.

These comments are correct.
However, research shows that there are also positive effects of using “baby talk”.
There is confusion whether “baby talk” should be used or not.

Is it true that if parents use “baby talk” with their child, he/she will learn the words more quickly

We will now introduce the effects of using “baby talk”. It is based on research done at Washington University and Connecticut University.

The research was performed on 26 one-year-olds who were still unable to speak on their own. The children spent 4 days in a normal language environment and the researchers studied how much the parents used “baby talk” in their normal lives. The research found that the children of parents who used “baby talk” in a high voice communicated more than those whose parents did not use “baby talk”.

Also, when they turned 2 years old, children whose parents did not use “baby talk” spoke on average 169 words and children whose parents used “baby talk” spoke on average 433 words, almost 3 times more. This proves that children who hear their parents speak “baby talk” remember more words than those whose parents don’t.

It is important for parents to speak actively to their child

We covered whether it is OK for parents to use “baby talk” or not, but what is important is to speak to your child as much as possible. Babies love it when they are spoken to, so please use simple phrases like “a car just passed”, “it’s warm today”.

This will help your baby pick up words naturally and learn that communicating with others is fun. Your child may make mistakes when learning how to talk but it is important to understand that all children develop at a different pace.

It is not a good idea to push your child too much as this may cause him/her to feel negatively about talking. Instead, parents should slowly teach them the correct vocabulary and pronunciation.
As we covered, there is a debate regarding whether it is a good idea to use “baby talk” or not.

However, what about using “baby talk” as a communication tool? If parents are too busy to spend enough quality time with their baby, it is a good idea to have your child attend kids classes where they will be exposed to Japanese and even English words and learn in a group environment.
Is it OK to use “baby talk” with your child?
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