What is Infant Directed Speech?
Infant Directed Speech (IDS), or ‘baby talk’ is a method of communication which makes it easier for babies to pick up on emotional intentions. Done properly, IDS can positively impact your baby’s language development. Babies also prefer IDS- researchers found that newborn babies have a clear unlearned preference for IDS, even from strangers.
Using IDS properly
Effective IDS has 3 criteria:
- Higher pitch (tone of voice) compared to usual
- Intonation contours are curvy; tone shifts rapidly from high to low which makes it sound me happy and upbeat
- Sentences are spoken as a slower pace- this allows the child time to process and participate in social interaction
Babies prefer IDS because…
Babies prefer IDS because it is higher pitched and has a greater variance in tones compared to Adult Directed Speech. Higher pitched sounds are more neurologically stimulating compared to flat tones. Researchers found increased brain activity when babies listened to higher pitched sounds. Exaggerated emotional tones often go hand in hand with greater pitch variance, and babies like to try to pick up on emotional cues through pitch variances.
It’s easier to pick up on emotional cues
Studies have found that babies can pick up on emotional cues solely based on the tone of the speaker. Through emotionally charged IDS, parents can help their baby build their social experiences by learning the give-and-take of a conversation.
May help them learn language
IDS makes it easier for babies to identify when each word starts and ends. As a result of better speech perception, babies often learn how to recognize and pronounce words faster- this leads to increased vocabulary. Early language skills are a significant predictor of later language development. Advanced vocabulary from a young age can lead to accelerated language and speech development.
Read more on this in our article: Infant Directed Speech helps your baby learn to speak