Baby Talk for Dads
Baby Talk for Dads – developed by UNICEF and H&M Foundation, in collaboration with Dr. Marina Kalashnikova – is a free, first-of-its-kind interactive online tool that helps dads learn and practice the most effective tone and pitch for talking with their babies.
UNICEF asserts that during early childhood, human brains develop faster than at any other period, creating new neural connections at optimal speed.
”Healthy brain development during the early years of life is reliant upon responsive interactions and stimulating experiences, along with good nutrition and protection – and it is parents who hold the biggest stake in providing this environment,” UNICEF Chief of Early Childhood Development Dr. Pia Britto says.
”We hope that this innovative tool helps inspire fathers and all caregivers to talk more with their babies.”
Evidence suggests that when babies hear slow, melodic, and exaggerated sounds it helps them develop fast cognitively and learn new words more efficiently. Studies suggest that when babies are spoken to in high-pitched baby talk they can speak earlier and have a larger vocabulary than babies who have not been interacted with in the same way.
Baby Talk for Dads consists of three playful voice exercises parents and caregivers can do, with or without their child. Each exercise was developed by expert researcher Dr. Marina Kalashnikova from the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language.
“When we talk to our babies from the earliest moments of life – particularly in melodic, high-pitched, and exaggerated tones – we have a profound impact on their cognitive development,” Dr. Marina Kalashnikova says.
“In our research we’ve seen marked differences in the early development of babies who have experienced responsive baby talk with their caregivers and other family members around them, to those that haven’t.”
The initiative is part of a global program on early childhood development launched in collaboration by UNICEF and H&M Foundation in 2014. So far the program has reached more than 135,000 children around the world.
“Baby talk may sound silly to us, but not to your child. It actually helps develop their brain. But as it turns out, dads don’t speak baby talk as much as mums do. We have developed this tool to support dads in becoming fluent in ‘baby talk’.
“It’s a fun and easy tool to highlight a very important issue,” says Diana Amini, Global Manager, H&M Foundation.