Have you ever listened to a mother talking baby talk to her child and smiled? That cooing and sugar coated talking sounds so sweet. But what if the child is five years old? Not so cute then, is it? So when should a person stop talking in baby language and start using regular words? Is there a magical age?
The truth is that parents talk baby talk to their child because it mimics the noises the child is making to some degree. And it seems to catch the child’s attention and make him smile. Perhaps it is the facial expressions more that the actual words, but baby talk is funny, or so it seems watching a baby smile and try to talk back. And they will try to talk back to you.
Baby talk is a natural part of an infant’s growth and development. It helps nurture a baby’s interest in different sounds and expressions. It allows the baby to pick up on strong sounds, such as Da-da or Mum-Mum. It also allows adults the freedom to show the enthusiasm and joy that babies just seem to bring out in adults. It’s not unlikely to find a grumpy old man talking baby talk to an infant.
And no, there is no magical age when you should stop using baby talk. It’s something that most parents just appear to do naturally. As the child begins to understand and say words, parents begin teaching them even more words. And while it may be cute when the child mispronounces a word, parents will usually try to correct the child. Knowing how to correctly pronounce a word will make reading much easier.
The parents who continue to use baby talk with their child after the child has grown out of infancy is limiting that child’s abilities. I’m not talking about the Dad who occasionally looks at his sixteen year old daughter and smilingly says, “There’s my little baby girl,” in a cooing voice. While it is still true in his heart, he knows she’s not really a little baby anymore. He would never say that in front of her friends. Well, usually not, anyway.
The parents who talk baby talk to their five year old are creating problems for the child. What happens when the five year old starts kindergarten? The teacher and the other children in the class aren’t going to talk baby talk. He or she may have trouble communicating with the other children. The other kids may laugh at him or label him a “baby.”
Baby talk has its place in a child’s life. It is the beginning of the wonderful world of communication. After all, who wouldn’t want to hear, “There’s Mommy’s little cutey pie.”