At 6 years old, regression to baby talk isn't unusual. A parent's best tactic is a low-key and patient response.

Credit: Frank Heckers

Q: How can I get my 6-year-old son to stop talking like a baby? He's been driving me crazy.

A: Many children this age go through a phase of using baby talk as a normal part of their development. "The bad news for parents is that baby talk can be incredibly annoying," notes Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University in New Haven, CT. "The good news is that it's not aggressive and it doesn't involve any violence or cause harm."

Your best bet is to act as if you don't notice his baby talk, Dr. Kazdin adds. "That means no nagging, no reminders, and no rolling your eyes," he explains. "If you make an issue of the baby talk, you run the risk of prolonging it." Instead, when it starts to bother you, leave the room. "Later, when your child is talking in a normal voice, pat his head and let him know how much you enjoy hearing him talk in such a grown-up way," suggests Dr. Kazdin.

"Most of all, try to be patient," he says. "This is just a stage, and your child will eventually outgrow it."

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