Studies Show Language Development in Babies Strongly Affected by NOT Using Baby Talk

It is very cute and only natural to goo goo our newborn babies, but is all this baby talk doing them any good. To give our babies a head start in language development it may be better to speak to them with real language.

One mistake new parents make is thinking that their new baby is not in need of communication by words. So often you see new parents talking to their children in “baby talk” which is cute and fun and really, can we even help ourselves? But we also need to speak to them in real words and sentences. Studies have show that these words may actually have meaning for babies before they can speak.

The study shows that this talking to babies in actual words may help their cognitive development and actually helps the brain to form categories. Babies that are able to associate a meaningful word to a picture or object, rather than a sound are better able to categorize. Which helps them later with their language skills and development.

And there was another study published in Child Development, which was shared with us at the hospital where I work. The study group consisted of 46 3-4 month old babies. They were all shown a series of pictures that had words associated with them or they were shown a picture with a sound associated with it. They all were then tested for categorization skills by being shown different pictures but of the same category as the test pictures. They were interested in how long the babies would look at the photos. If the baby looked at the picture for a long time they had formed a category. The pictures associated with a word rather than a sound were the pictures that the babies looked at longest thus indicating a familiar categorization had taken place in the babies brain.

I have friends that actually speak meaningfully to their babies while actually still in utero. Actually reading to them or playing music to them. They report that while the baby is being read to or spoken to that the baby seems to calm down as if listening. And the music played will determine the activity inside the womb. Soft lilting music will calm the baby and fast loud music will make the baby speed up its activity as if it were moving with the music like dancing.

Also these same babies after being born will bond much quicker with the parents, both parents if both are talking to them while still in the womb. And they will learn language skills including reading, much more easily and much much earlier. I have met some children who are reading at a more advanced level than children 2-3 years older than them and starting 2-3 years sooner.

I think this is fascinating because the potential for learning is basically untapped especially in infants.

 

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