Baby Talk

Baby talk, motherese, parentese, child-directed speech. Call it whatever you want! It is THE BEST way to talk to your baby.

Don’t listen to all the media saying child-directed speech will delay your child’s speech and language development.

The opposite is true. It will help your child develop speech and language quicker.


It is the voice and words people naturally want to use when they interact with a baby.


  • Sing-song tone
  • Short phrases
  • Cooing noises
  • High pitch voice
  • “Cute words” - i.e., mommy instead of mom
  • Long vowels

Benefits of Baby Talk

  1. Babies hear and attend to high intonation and soft tones more than regular-adult like speech. If your baby doesn't listen or pay attention to your sounds and words, how can she learn?
  2. By keeping your babies attention, you have more emotional bonding time.
  3. Parents tend to exaggerate their facial expressions (i.e., lips and tongue) when using motherese. This gives your baby more clues on how to move his lips and tongue to make certain sounds.

Others ways to talk to to your baby:

Below are 2 more ways you can talk to your baby and develop speech and language skills. These 2 strategies aren't work at all and it doesn't cost a thing. All you have to do is remember to talk to your baby and vary how you do it. That's it! 

1. Self Talk

Self talk means while hanging out with your baby, narrate your day. Talk about what you are doing.

Some parents do this naturally and others don't. It can seem silly to talk to your baby since he/she can't talk back to you, but your baby IS listening. I promise! For me, it was hard to talk to my babies because I would stare at how cute they were :)

To start, tell your baby what you are doing during diaper changes and shopping in the store. Work up for there. The more you talk, the more sound patterns and vocabulary he/she is learning!

Parallel Talk

Parallel talk is very similiar to self talk. However, instead of talking about you are doing, talk about what your baby is doing. That's it. Talk about how your baby is crawling, eating, etc...

This distinction is important for babies and young toddlers. When we talk about ourselves, we use the same pronouns and grammar structures such as verbs. When you talk about others, such as "you are rolling on the ground," you vary pronouns and verbs. It is important that children are exposed to both!

I hope we helped clarify some things! Come back again!

Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference.

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