Kindergarten: the style of communication we use with babies

It’s possible that the concept of motherhood is unknown to more than one person, although it is likely that at some point you have used it or will use it at some point. For example, when a friend or family member presents their baby to us, or directly when we have children. And it is that kindergarten is the affectionate and at the same time peculiar language that we usually use when we interact with babies and very young children. In this article, we will talk briefly about this way of communicating.

    What is motherhood?

    Motherhood or kinship, also known as the language or speech of the caregiver, is the style of speech and non-verbal expression we typically use when addressing a baby. It is a dialect of the language we use to communicate that has its own characteristics in terms of intonation, grammar or even lexicon.

    This way of communicating uses very careful pronunciation and vocalization in which exaggerated intonation stands out, sharpening the voice and separating words and phrases in a marked way. These tend to be short and repetitive and focus on the present.

    Another striking feature of this type of speech is that it generally simplifies the lexicon: words are reduced (changing pacifiers for pete is one example) or even transformed to become onomatopoeias (for example, talk about wow-wow in instead of using the word dog). It is also common that structures, words and sentences are repeated over short periods of time. It is also common to abuse diminutives.

    But motherhood is not just oralBut we also usually accompany this dialect with abundant gestures, physical contact and expression through body language. For example, we have smiled, touched, pointed out things in the environment or we were surprised to see, for example, a dog.

    In addition, the person speaking does not do a monologue, but interacts with the baby and usually offers some kind of dialogue, responding to the baby with movements, looking or looking at our gaze, kicking., By filling or emitting ringing. We usually respond to these responses orally reward the little one with our attention or pamper.

      The importance of this way of speaking

      We usually use kindergarten without asking ourselves exactly why, and some people find it ridiculous and ineffective. However, its use with a baby makes a lot of sense and is very helpful for its development.

      And first of all, the intonation we use in kindergarten is very emotional and tends to reflect positive emotions and feelings towards the childThis facilitates the existence of positive communication and the establishment of emotional relationships between baby and speaker. Likewise, as we said, we don’t just talk and that’s it, but we maintain an interaction that the baby picks up and responds to, bonding with the adult or the communicator. with him.

      Outraged, variations in intonation and exaggerated emphasis they involve stimuli that grab the child’s attention, which tend to focus more on sounds and their source than on adult speech.

      Usually, this exaggerated emphasis occurs in fragments of speech that contain properties that are relevant to learn, making it easier for the baby to record them in the future. The boy or the girl listen to sentences that are not very complex and that will gradually become understandable, Then be able to deepen. It is therefore a very important language which, although it does not create language learning on its own, contributes and facilitates its acquisition.

      Not just with babies – who else do we use it with?

      Although kindergarten is a style of speech that we may or may not use, it is carried out with subjects which arouse in us certain physiological reactions, Triggering the synthesis of different hormones. These include dopamine, oxytocin (associated with emotional attachment) and also associated with the emotional attachment phenylethylamine.

      Of course, this does not mean that the use or non-use of maternity depends on these hormones (in fact although it is common in our society, in other contexts it is not used despite the emotional reactions generated by children are the same).

      Usually when we talk about kindergarten we imagine someone talking and communicating with a baby or toddler. But the truth is that this kind of talk it does not only apply to maternity or paternity but it has spread to other areas.


      One of them is that of pets. It is not uncommon to hear someone talking motherly to dogs, cats, rabbits, or other animals, usually when they are receiving affection. Although many of the animals that keep us company are not able to really understand what we are saying (although they are able to understand a specific request with training), they are able to capture intonation and emotion. which are printed there.


      Another area in which the same language is sometimes applied as one would apply it with a child is that of the couple. Although in this case the understanding of the language is generally complete on the part of both, some pairs use the mother tongue. as a way to interact emotionally, As a way to express love, devotion, or gentleness that the other person is arousing, or as a little joke to prick your partner.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Karmiloff, K. and Karmiloff-Smith, A. (2005). Towards the language. From fetus to adolescent. Ediciones Morata, SL Madrid.
      • Martí, M. (2015). Neurological bases of language. Language processing in children; In M. de l’C. Fernández López (coord.): Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language to Children: Basic Contents for Teacher Training. Alcalá de Henares: Publications Service of the University of Alcalá, p. 93-161.
      • Pont, A. (2006). The origins of the language (with G. Rusell). Madrid: Editorial alliance.
      • Seltzer, LF (2013) The Real Reason Couples Use Children’s Speech. Psychology today. Online. Available at:
      • Serra, M .; Serrat, E; Solé, R .; Bel, A. and Aparici, M. (2008). Language acquisition. Barcelona: Editorial Ariel.

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