You’ve heard of baby talk, or child-directed speech. But did you know just how valuable baby talk is for infants and toddlers?
By narrating my actions and breaking things down into steps with baby talk, I’m able to prepare my kids for what to expect. I started abusing baby talk to prevent toddler tantrums. Toddlers get frustrated when something happens out of their expectation so using baby talk helps to prepare them while also tremendously enlarging their communication and vocabulary.
Talking To Myself
When I became a mom I was told to talk to my child often but when I was alone with my baby we were usually in silence. It’s an awkward feeling to talk to someone who can’t talk back.
Then I realized how much he was actually understanding a few months later. At that point, I forced myself to get used to baby talk and I realized the power of narrating to my child.
Now I’m a parent to two toddlers, who are surrounded by three languages in their daily lives. Despite theories of multiple languages causing speech delays, they are very verbal kids. Probably because we’re always talking to them.
Narrating and baby talk became natural after a while and my second child was most exposed to it.
Using Baby Talk In Our Daily Routine
As a stay at home mom, I’ve implemented baby talk into our daily routine.
Every morning I tell my son “good morning,” remind him to give us good morning hugs and kisses, and ask him how he slept. This starts off our verbal day of baby, or toddler, talk.
Once he’s less groggy I tell him it’s time to get dressed and that we’re going to change his diaper, and it’s often a debate even though he knows it’s coming every single morning.
Then, together, we say “good morning” to my daughter, ask for kisses, and tell her it’s time to get dressed before we can all have breakfast. While I’m changing her, he’s dressing himself next to me. We we talk about the outfit he picked out (he’s proudly becoming more independent) and I talk to her about her outfit I’m getting as well as what she’s going to eat for breakfast, since food is what’s most exciting for her.
During breakfast my son is usually pretty slow to eat so I tell him our plans for the morning and that we have to hurry so that we can go to [wherever we’re going] to see [whoever we’re seeing]. Then I ask if he wants to go there and see them…etc. and repeat the same conversation in the car ride over.
Why I Started Using Baby Talk
I started using baby talk more regularly when my son was somewhere between 1 and 2 years old. At this stage, he started having little internal tantrums of frustration because he didn’t know what to expect next of our day. This way if I got him to understand, in detail, what we had to do next and why, he would be less likely to get frustrated.
The Pro's of Baby Talk
- Assists in preventing tantrums
- Establishes routine & structure
- They gain an understanding of patience
- We understand them better and gain patience
- Understanding of consequences
- Expands their vocabulary
- Grows their understanding of how things work
- We develop better ways of teaching our children
I feel this habit has majorly facilitated, and hopefully prevented, any frustrations with both my kids. It has also grown their understanding of patience. For me, it’s helped me develop a way of explaining things to them, particularly consequences for behavioral lessons.
With all that said, tantrums still happen. But surely things would have been much more difficult had I not used baby talk in these times.
I also have some tips on dealing with strong-willed children.
Using Baby Talk To Teach How/We We Do Things
Though narrating may feel silly, it’s one of the best teaching methods. And, as parents, we are their best teachers.
When we break things down into steps and explain the how and why we do certain things, they get so excited to learn and be independent.
For example, we can explain how and why we brush our teeth by breaking it down step-by-step. Such as how to turn on the sink, grab the brush, ways to brush properly, rinse, and then get down. Everything is a process.
Children love being helpful and included in our everyday tasks. And we don’t always realize what “chores” they’re capable of participating with, so I made an age-appropriate list for you. My kids beg me to be able to help me or at least be present when I’m cleaning the house or doing house chores.
Setting up laundry is one of the simplest. I explain the difference between clean and dirty, when we put things in the hamper, and what the washer and dryer do to our clothes. They love loading and unloading the machines and it gets them to understand the process.
Another example, is walking the dog. Our dog has regular accidents inside the house so I’ve explained to them the difference between people and dogs peeing and pooping. How people use toilets and how dogs go on grass, or at least that they should. This will hopefully help, rather than confuse, the potty training process. We discuss this while walking our dog together, and sometimes they get to hold the leash and reward him for going outside rather than inside. They even tell him “good boy” or “bad boy” at the right time and warn me when the dog has been bad inside. It’s amazing how quickly they’ve picked up on this!
In The Kitchen
Kids also learn a lot in the kitchen, whether cooking, baking, or preparing simple meals. Recently, I’ve been teaching my son to make his own sandwiches. He already loves baking with me but he mostly observes and loves watching the mixer. Sandwiches are the perfectly simple for those little hands to feel some independence and the process can easily be broken down enough for them to grasp.
The Con's to the Pro's
I think they only side effect of this is, once they reach the age when they can talk in full sentences, they’ll be narrating everything for us. It’s both adorable and annoying!
Here’s some of my “kids say the darnest things” examples so far:
- My son reprimands my daughter for me.
-HA! Good for me if he’s right, bad when he shouldn’t.
- The kids tell me when the dog has peed or pooped inside the house (it’s a daily thing).
-HA! This is actually super helpful and they know to be careful not to step on it. My 1.5 year old daughter repeats this until I’m done cleaning it.
- My son follows me into the bathroom and asks me if I’m pooping.
- I get followed into closet and questioned about every little thing in my closet, “Mommy are those your pants? Are you putting on your pants? Mommy? Mommy?“
-YES CHILD! Kudos to him as he understands, however there’s a phase where they give you no silence!
- I’m in a public place with my kids and one points at a stranger and asks about “the man” or “the woman.“
-CHILD, be quiet! Stop pointing at strangers!
- While in a public bathroom, probably changing their diapers, and we hear someone relieving gas… I look at him and immediately speak over him before he can ask about farts or poop.
But hey, they’re understanding everything! Who can’t be proud of that!
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My name is Paula and I’m a mom of two scrumptious cuties. Thanks Mommy Blog became a project for me to help guide other new moms and current moms through any of my own personal experiences and struggles. My hobbies include singing, doing jigsaw puzzles, baking, designing and trying to stay creative.
Great post. I especially love the idea of teaching kids to make their own sandwiches at an early age!
I think it’s a fantastic idea narrating to your kids. They can understand long before they can speak & from the time they are babies, their mummy’s voice is their favourite sound. Even if they can’t understand everything they still enjoy hearing your voice & pick up on the tone… Read more »
I love the idea of talking things through with your children so that they better understand consequences and the “why” of things. This article is a perfect example of great parenting!
I’ve read so many articles on this topic and it’s great that you narrate to your kids. It’s going to help them learn to talk sooner and also better. Just like how reading a book to your child can help them learn faster and increase their vocabulary. You’re doing a… Read more »
This is the #1 way to help with language development! Doing a great job mama