You held your breath for nine long months (give or take) and imagined a thousand things you would say to your precious little bundle of joy when it arrived. And then he is placed in your unsure arms. You stare at the tiny being, holding it like the most precious fragile china doll ever made and you are speechless. How do you even talk to this doll-person who is completely oblivious to the presence of his most ardent fans?
For some parents, talking to their infants comes easy, they are naturals at it. But for most parents, “Parentese” is a language they have to learn to speak in due course of their first-born’s life. Speaking to an infant is like talking to a plant; you have no clue what it’s thinking or whether it’s even getting what you are saying, but a thousand experiments have proven already that they (children and plants both) imbibe a lot of what’s spoken to them. So, go ahead and get your “Parentese” on.
But how? Well, here’s what I have learnt so far (of course with a hell lot experimentation and trial and error in between):
- Skip the Baby-Talk: “Parentese” is not the same as baby-talk. Skip the “goo-goos” and “gagas” in favor of real words. An occasional “coochie-poochie” is fine, but its better to use sentences like you would use when talking to an adult. “Hi baby, how are you?” is a good start 🙂 It’s easy to get carried away with the baby’s cooing and mimic it, but one has to remember that those coos are mostly the little ones’ attempts to form sounds for actual language later on. Our mimicking it back makes it just an endless cycle of coos with no injection of real words, which is the onus of the parents to teach.
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