One thing I hated when I was a kid was when adults would assume an unnatural and high-pitched “kid” voice when speaking to me. We all do this with babies, but it can only last so long before it’s patronizing.
Almost every day, when talking to my son, I try to remind myself to speak to him like I would want to be spoken to, and almost every day, I realize I could do better. It’s not often the baby voice that is the problem, it’s the irritable and grouchy voice that communicates impatience.
The test I run myself through that gives me an answer right away is asking myself: would I ever speak to my friends this way? With friends, it better be worth it if you’re going to show your anger with them. And if you talked in a condescending way, they would either call you on it or just stop hanging out with you.
I try to purpose to not say anything to my own child in a way I would find impossible to hear. I try to never speak to him in a way that would make me lose friends my age. He’s a friend too. Sometimes the person in our relationship that needs to talk more like a grown up isn’t the 5-year-old.