10 answers

4 Year Old Reverts to "Baby Talk"

I have a four year old daughter who has always spoken very clearly, until now. She has adopted a sort of slurred baby talk. It is driving me crazy! :) She spoke more clearly at 2 years old than she is now. She basically drops the ends of words and mumbles her words together. I have tried pointing it out and asking her to repeat what she said, which she does in a clear non baby talk manner. I have tried ignoring her until she asks me in a big girl way. I have tried bribing her with a big girl reward (not my most shining mom moment). Nothing works, when I ask her why she talks like a baby she says "I doesn't know", when I ask if she heard anyone talk like that she says "a girl at preschool" (last year), when I ask if she wants to be a baby again she says "no". We haven't had any big changes in the house or family so I don't think it is for attention. I would love to hear any advise you have to give.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your encouragement! She is doing much better and is only doing it very rarely at this point. When she does it now all I have to do is look at her like I don't understand and she corrects herself. Like you all said it was just a phase and after explaining to her that babies don't get to do lots of things she loves to do, i.e. swing on the swing by herself, go swimming, ride bikes, go to princess birthday parties, she knows now that she wants to be a big girl. I also changed my technique and tried very hard to praise her for speaking like a big girl instead of dwelling on the babytalk. Thanks again for all the help.

Featured Answers

I know this can be a hard one! My 3 yr does it every now and then, it is only a stage. My daughter will do it if she looks at her baby pics, sees a baby talking a lot or something similar. It never lasts long. I give her a minute to get it out and then tell her I enjoyed her as a baby but I also enjoy her as the big girl she is. She stops after that. Normal behavior. Good luck:)

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Not to worry, my son who is now 6 years old picked that up when he started preschool as well. He started displaying some of things he had picked up from school. I thought at one time is was because I had just had his sister and that he was looking for attention. Once my husband and I spoke to him and when to visit his school I then realized that some of his baby talking was coming from the other children that he was with during the day. Once we kept re-enforcing the correct way to talk he started coming around. Don't worry and don't give up.
Thanks

She is going through a growing change well she feel like she has control of doing what she feels withour caring how you feel. She knows it is bother you becsue you might how tension in your body, so if she continues start taking away things that are important to her.

child care provider and a mother of 3

Have you thought about hearing loss? When you do not hear as well, your speach can decline. If she has some fluid in her ears, that could cause it. Does she have ear infections often? You might want to ask your doctor on your next visit.

Also try rewarding her when she talks like a big girl without your asking. It is not a bribe, but positive reinforcement for the correct behavior. Also do not stop correcting the baby talk. She needs to know that is unaceptable behavior. All caregivers need to be consistant, including your husband, relatives, and any regular caregivers. It is probably a phase and she will improve with time.

J.,
I would say to ignore the language and any attention attached to it. She's just experimenting with something new and it will pass when she realizes there is no attention because of it. She obviously can speak fine and does when you ask her to. If it continues for longer than a week or so then it's time to consider another approach.

I know this can be a hard one! My 3 yr does it every now and then, it is only a stage. My daughter will do it if she looks at her baby pics, sees a baby talking a lot or something similar. It never lasts long. I give her a minute to get it out and then tell her I enjoyed her as a baby but I also enjoy her as the big girl she is. She stops after that. Normal behavior. Good luck:)

Just keep doing what you are doing and say, "I'll be happy to listen to you just as soon as you are talking in a voice like mine." (I use the same phrase for whiners, because I don't understand whinese.)

Both of my girls did this and still occasionally do. It drives me crazy, especially when my seven year old does it. My five year old recently picked up the habit of babbling incomprehensibly when she is really upset. For instance, if she gets hurt, she'll cry and try to explain to me what happened and then part way through just start babbling in a crying voice. It is so frustrating. My seven year old (going into second grade) will sometimes drop sounds and change her voice to sound baby-ish and then respond like she doesn't know she's doing it. It is really frustrating, especially when you've tried for years to teach them and you know they can do better. I think the best thing to do is firmly ask her to repeat it so that you can understand but other than that try not to make a big deal of it. The more you emphasize it, the more she'll probably think to do it. You'll also have to try really hard not to let it bother you so much. (That's the hardest part.) She will outgrow it. (BTW, do you think this is related to your younger daughter? Is the older one imitating her perhaps?) Good luck. Hang in there.

J.:
The girl that your daughter went to school with last year, probably gained some additional attention from the classroom teacher or maybe from a speech teacher. Or maybe it was a game between the girl and your daughter. It might affect your daughter to know that her fellow classmates might make fun of her if they hear her talk "baby talk". Good luck.
P. S

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