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Benefits of Parentese

What is one of the most important activities parents can do with their children to develop their personality and intellectually stimulate them?  It's quite simple actually, and the best part is you are probably already doing it--you are talking to your infant, and most likely you are talking to your infant differently than you talk with your husband or sister or dad. Parentese is known as the way parents speak to their children in voices that have a high pitched, exaggerated tones and a slower tempo.   Babies, quite simply, enjoy hearing the higher-pitched sounds and exaggerated speech patterns of Parentese, even when they don't know what the words mean. Babies not only enjoy the sounds we make when we do it but they also enjoy watching our faces as we talk to them.

So What Are The Benefits?

Some parents try to avoid talking in parentese, fearing that it is condescending or that it will slow the child's language abilities.  However, research indicates that such speech may be critical to understanding language.  Not only does the slow tempo allow for your baby to hear the differences between words, but the change in pitch and tone helps him understand the emotional content of language.   

The best way to help your infant develop is to talk and talk a lot!  Researchers studied families for more than three years and found that the most important factor in developing language in a child was the amount a parent talked to or with their child.  The more words you speak every hour translates to more opportunities for your child's mind to process information and grow.   

Parentese Tips

  • Talk to your baby as you go through the day. Even if young children don't understand what your words mean, they love to hear the sounds of language!       
  • Move in close when talking to your child, so that your baby can see your face and your lips move when you talk.
  • Draw out your vowels and pitch your voice as high as you like.     
  • Smile and make eye contact.            
  • Praise his pretty brown eyes. Tell her she's a sweetie.


There you have it! Five easy ways to increase your infant's vocabulary and rate at which they will be able to understand language. So next time you catch yourself saying...

"ooooo who's a preeety babeee?"

Don't be embarrassed about it for a second. Across the world, adults love baby talk. Babies love baby talk. It's delightful to move in close to a child and communicate in a warm, friendly way that is sure to get a smile. And the slow, higher-pitched, sing-song speech may be just what an infant needs to hear to help her figure out how language is put together.