Dr. Pressman | Learning to speak 'parentese' - why talking to your baby is so positive for their brain

Key Takeaways

  • Talk to and listen to your baby!
  • Conversation early on forms the basis for language skills


"When you are talking to your infant, just having a conversation, the way your voice sounds is going to change the way their language grows. So there's something you typically, you naturally do, as a caregiver.

It's called parentese.

And when you speak in parentese, you have a high pitched sing-song voice. And it's correct grammar. It sounds like baby talk to some people, but it's grammatically correct. You're not saying goo goo gaga, you're saying 'Hello, I'm so happy to see you. What's this? Is this a dirty diaper? Let's change your diaper.'
And so you're basically talking to your infant in different sing song patterns and it's exciting for them to hear. So they're much more, they're much more inspired to listen and they're watching your mouth and they're looking at your eyes light up and your exaggerated facial expressions and they are learning language. Anytime your baby makes any sounds, don't interrupt them. Let them know that you're listening to them because they're practicing speaking.

And when you think about it, when infants begin to babble, it sounds like they're having a real conversation. They're imitating you. They're really practicing the rhythm of conversations. And then finally they get to a language that you understand and words that you understand and you expand those words and you help them make them bigger. You validate that you can hear them and that they should continue to try and speak and communicate. And then you have yourself a talking little toddler."

In this article