My oldest son Luc, who is 6 years old, has suddenly developed a case of baby talk. He (normally) is very articulate and can use a fair share of 'big' words appropriately. My youngest son Max, 15 months, is a real chatter bug and has started to throw in recognizable words along with the babbling. Sometimes, when you pay attention to what's going on around you; you can solve the equation.
Don't Flip Out
It's important not to flip out over regression issues like baby talk. They're just the little speed bumps in life that we all get over eventually. Young children (and sometimes adults) can't say, "I'm threatened by all the attention he's getting since he's learning to talk! Look at me!" Here's what you can do to battle the baby talk.
Praise the Older Child
It's important to keep reminding your older child how much MORE he knows than the younger baby. Luc enjoys it when Max repeats what he says. I take those opportunities to say, "Wow, he wants to talk just like you! You're lucky you're older and know how to talk already."
Give the Older Child a Sense of Authority
Stress to your older child how important it is to teach his younger sibling how to talk, "It's all our jobs to teach him how to talk, can you help us?" You can talk about how babies learn to speak with just simple words like; "up, down, done" etc. You can imagine Luc's delight when he taught Max how to shake his head and say "No."
Talk About the Past
Sometimes when a particular babble strikes Luc funny. I tell him about some of the words he had made up for things when he was little. I let him know that he was learning to talk we were just as silly and proud of him, as we are of his younger brother.
© 2004, Claudine M. Jalajas