When your child, who is capable of age appropriate communication, suddenly starts to communicate with baby talk it can be pretty annoying at best but a little worrying too. There can be a number of reasons why he does this, the main one being attention seeking.
Before you try to decipher why he is doing this, you’ll need to find out when he does it. Is it only with you or is he baby talking at school/preschool and at his grandparents too?
If he talks appropriately when he’s away from you, you know that he is choosing to talk this way and that this is not a regression as such. If he seems to be unable to communicate like he used to, then some intervention by a medical professional may be needed.
So, why is he choosing to use baby talk?
Here are some possible reasons..
When a child chooses to use baby talk he is looking for attention, for whatever reason. The natural reaction to this kind of talk initially is a positive one (before it gets annoying!) as we are drawn to the sweet tones and sounds of the ‘words’.
Stress/Change in Everyday Life
If there is any stress in the child’s life, he may feel that he will find comfort in regressing to a former behavior as they remember a safer time in their lives. Babyish behaviour such as whinging and being impatient will often accompany baby talk in this situation. Stress can be caused by many factors such as moving house or schools, separation between parents, parents own stresses (which they thought they had kept hidden from the child!).
He adores his little sister as do you, but when she starts to babble her first sounds in an attempt at speaking like her big brother the attention and praise she gets from you is something he wants a part of. If I start babbling like her, he thinks, they’ll think I’m just as cute and clever 🙂
What Should You Do?
* Don’t ask him to stop. He will think “Why should I stop when I’m getting all this attention, Baby sister is doing it, I feel safer” etc etc.
* Ignore the baby talk as much as you can.
* Talk back to him in ‘grown up’ language. You will be modelling the sort of language that you expect to hear from him.
* Trust him to understand what behaviour you would like to see him display. Tell him that you would prefer to hear him talking to you in a more grown up way. Tell him that you would enjoy your conversations more this way. When he does talk appropriately to you, positively reinforce it by highlighting what you’ve noticed and continuing the conversation between you both.