Has the Cat Got Your Tongue? How to Talk Properly to Kids

by | Sep 21, 2023 | Child Development, Children's Book | 0 comments

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Talk, Play, and Read with Me Daddy by Jo Ann Gramlich is a brilliant start for parents wanting to teach their children how to speak better and more fluently.

If you have a child on the way, whether it’s your first one or your fifth, all parents must know that baby talk can be harmful to your child’s progress in developing language. While it can be cute and endearing to communicate with your child, hawing and cooing at them can be pretty detrimental to their acquisition of language skills.

When your kid starts talking, it may be okay to engage with baby talk, but the further on you go, you might want to rethink your plans.

Has the Cat Got Your Tongue? 

If you want your child to be on the fast track on how to talk properly, you need to provide infants with proper conversation to hone their language skills. Baby talk doesn’t help with this. Baby talk typically involves using simplified vocabulary, shorter sentences, and a higher pitch, which makes it difficult for infants to understand the nuances of your target language. 

As a result, it can impede their ability to develop complex vocabulary and sentence structures.

Further studies have shown that infants exposed to baby talk may have difficulty transitioning to regular speech patterns. This is because they have become too accustomed to simplified language structures and need more dedicated help comprehending more complex forms of communication. This ultimately leads to delays in language development and impedes their ability to communicate effectively with others.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean parents and caregivers should never speak in a high-pitched voice or use a sing-song tone when communicating with infants. Research has shown that varying your tone and pitch can be beneficial in helping infants distinguish between different sounds and words.

However, it’s important to avoid using excessively simplified language structures that can hinder their language development.

How to Talk Properly to Your Kids

So, what can parents and caregivers do to promote healthy infant language development? The key is to provide them with rich language interactions. This means using proper grammar and pronunciation, using a wide range of vocabulary, and speaking to children with the willingness to let them engage with you. Reading to infants and conversing with them can also promote healthy language development.

As a parent, the best way you can help them develop language is by talking to them as you would a younger person. The way parents can do this is by discussing simple topics while trying to talk properly to them as if they can understand fully.

Here are some things that parents can do with their young children to help improve their language skills:

  • Talk to your child about family. Tell them stories about grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This helps build a sense of belonging and identity and helps your child learn new vocabulary words.
  • Ask your child about their favorite activities and interests. Encourage them to describe what they like about these things and ask follow-up questions to help them expand on their ideas.
  • Talk about different animals and plants you see when you’re out. This also helps in teaching children more about the world around them and develops in them a sense of curiosity and wonder.
  • Ask them about different foods and tell them how they are prepared. This helps your child develop their taste buds and learn new words related to cooking and nutrition.
  • Encourage your child to talk about their feelings and emotions. This helps them develop a deeper understanding of themselves and how they are feeling while also building a strong relationship with you.

By talking to your child about these and other topics, you can help improve their language skills and set them up for success later in life.

Talk, Play, and Read with Me Daddy by Jo Ann Gramlich is a brilliant start for parents wanting to teach their children how to speak better and more fluently.


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