UNICEF Café: Parents learn ‘baby talk’

07 November 2018
UNICEF cafe on baby Talk for Dads
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2018/Soares

DILI, Timor-Leste, 07 November 2018 – Parents are encouraged to talk more to their babies and help their children to stimulate brain development in UNICEF Cafe: ‘Baby Talk for Dads.’

Facilitated by celebrity anchor Dacky Belo, parents from different walks of life engaged in an animated discussion on baby talk and shared their personal accounts in the café. A mini master class video on ‘Baby talk for Dads’ further enhanced the discussion as it explained the importance of baby talk and provided tips to parents to practice.

“The word ‘baby talk’ may sound new for some of us but we, as parents or caregivers, often practice baby talk as a natural way to communicate with the youngest members of our family,” said Valerie Taton, UNICEF Representative.

“Evidence suggests that baby talk with babies not only contribute to their brain development but also creates greater bonds between parents and the child.” In her introductory remarks she encouraged parents, especially fathers, to spend quality time and talk more with their babies.

Research findings show that baby talk stimulates babies’ brains, preparing them for the difficult task of learning language. It helps babies establish a special bond and connection with their parents, which makes them feel loved, safe, and comfortable.

Two-way conversations with babies, using eye contact, mirroring expressions and responding to cues are equally as important to vocal sounds in supporting healthy brain development in babies. When babies hear slow, melodic, and exaggerated sounds it helps them develop fast cognitively and learn new words more efficiently - evidence suggests. Some studies have revealed that when babies are spoken to in high-pitched baby talk from their caregivers or parents they can speak earlier and have a larger vocabulary than babies who have not been interacted with in the same way.

As part of a longstanding commitment to supporting healthy brain development of babies and children, UNICEF and H&M Foundation in collaboration with Dr. Marina Kalashnikova, Researcher, developed the Baby Talk for Dads, an online tool, to help parents to learn about baby talk.

UNICEF with the support of H&M Foundation launched globally an early childhood development programme in 2014 which is being implemented in Timor-Leste as part of the global project. ‘Baby Talk for Dads’ is part of this global initiative.


For more information, please contact:
Antonio Gomes, Communication Officer, UNICEF Timor-Leste (Tetum)
Phone: +670-77232441 
Email: angomez@unicef.org

Arifa S. Sharmin, Chief, Communication Section, UNICEF Timor-Leste
Phone: +670-77231103 
Email: assharmin@unicef.org (English)


Media contacts

Rukshan Ratnam
Communication Specialist (English)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +67077231103
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1820
Antonio Gomes
Communication Officer (Tetum)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +670 7723 2441
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1821


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