Talking to your child is important for a number of reasons. You should talk to your baby in a moderate to soft tone. The volume of your voice is important. Be sure to speak at a moderate to low level. Be careful not to yell or speak too loudly as this can frighten a baby who is unable to comprehend what that means. Yelling or speaking loudly around them can make them startle and induce anxiety and fear. Some children will begin crying if around someone yelling or speaking loudly. Particularly be careful to not do this if the child is already upset as that is the farthest thing from soothing and will only serve to further upset the child rather than calm them. Also, be careful to speak in a moderate to soft tone when they are tired, cranking or trying to nap. Not doing so will further exacerbate matters.
Use the Right Voice Tones to Talk to Your Baby
Another important thing to take into consideration when speaking around a baby is the tone of your voice. If you speak to the child in the right tone it will likely prove to be a positive experience for all involved. You should talk to your baby in soothing, calm tones. It needs to be light and positive. If you speak in a harsh or sharp tone it can be frightening and anxiety provoking to the child. The child doesn’t fully understand about tone or inflections but can sense that it is a negative thing and in turn will typically react negatively.
Babies also respond well if you speak in a higher tone of voice known as “baby talk” or “mommy-ease”. It is somewhat of a sing-songy manner in which to speak. Some people instinctually do this around small children while others have to work at it. The inflections and changing tones catch the baby’s interest and often will lead to them engaging more with you. Stimulation at this age is critical and helps with brain development and intelligence overall. It is seen as fun and playful and not scary to the child. If you try it you will instantly see most children become more interested and engage more with you.
Be Very Careful What you say When you Talk to Your Baby
Modeling the appropriate ways to communicate is very important. When speaking to babies use words that are appropriate, particularly if your child is at the age in which they are talking or beginning to start talking. There comes a time when they will repeat almost anything and everything they hear so if you do not want to hear certain words come out of your child’s voice it is imperative that you do not allow them to come out of yours in their presence either. Children become sponges and absorb all that is around them. They learn from their surroundings, particularly important figures in their lives, which you likely are. They will begin to mimic things and people, particularly people whom they are close to or like, a.k.a. you! There is nothing worse than slipping and saying a curse word and then hear it repeated from your sweet, innocent child’s little mouth. Then trying to correct them becomes confusing as they don’t understand why it is okay for you to say it but not for them. Try to use positive words and avoid profanity at all costs. Do your best to not put down others or say insulting statements, racial slurs or word or phrases that can be considered vulgar or inappropriate for a child to say. It’s best to begin practicing this long before the child is ready to talk as old habits take time to break. We will all slip and say things that the children around us end up repeating and we end up kicking ourselves. If and when you find yourself in that situation take a deep breath and correct the child. Resist the urge to laugh as we often do when this happens. This is a common reaction to this as laughing reduces stress and eases tension which we will likely feel when we realize what we have done. Also, to be honest, it is fairly amusing at times to hear a naughty word or phrase come out in a small child’s voice. If you laugh you only serve to further reinforce the behavior and increase the chances that the child will repeat that behavior time and again in the future. Discourage anyone around you from laughing or smiling. Hide your face or turn away if you have to. Do whatever it takes to stifle that laugh or grin.
Talking to your child can improve their vocabularies. Both in their understanding and comprehension as well as their actual speech. The more you talk, read and sing with your child the more likely they are to be developing healthily. Not only does it help with their intelligence but it also helps to strengthen your bond between yourself and your child. Communication is a vital skill that a child will utilize throughout their lifetime so beginning good communication now will only serve to help them with social and intellectual situations and with life in general.
When disciplining a small child speak in a firm, authoritative voice but try your best to avoid yelling. Yelling should be used in dire circumstances to get their attention immediately, such as if they are running towards the street. Use age appropriate words and statements that they understand. Remember their age level and their abilities and limitations. Trying to reason with a 1 year old isn’t going to work but simply saying, “No, don’t touch the stove. It is very, very hot & will hurt you” will prove to be more effective. Remind yourself of who you are talking to to avoid getting frustrated with their inability to understand or comprehend what you are saying. Use words they know. If you always call bedtime “night night time” don’t start calling it “bedtime”. This just serves to further confuse and frustrate the child which in turn frustrates you. Give short, simple instructions to them. Give them basic information and do not overwhelm their young minds with complex, elaborate statements or directions.
Talking to a child in the right manner can do wonders for the child’s mood. When trying to entertain a baby or small child singing can help. Much like with “mother-ease” or “baby talk” they enjoy the different tones and the variability in it. It catches their attention and can keep some children amused for quite some time. Other babies and small children find singing to be soothing and will relax and sometimes fall asleep when sung to. Babies and small children are also calmed by “shushing” noises.