Friday, March 18, 2011

Converse with Your Baby or Toddler

This post is the article "Talking Points" from the spring/summer 2010 issue of New Parent.

photo by miamiamia

Reading to your child is stimulating and a ton of fun for both of you, but if your aim is to develop your tot's language skills, engaging her in conversation is six times more effective. A new study involving 275 families of children ages 0 to 4 showed that back-and-forth conversation was more strongly associated with speech improvements than reading or watching TV (which had no effect at all). Even if your child is in the "goo-goo ga-ga" stage, interactive chats are vital. "Mumbles and proto-syllables are attempts at speech and can be very communicative," says Frederick J. Zimmerman, PhD, associate professor at the UCLA School of Public Health and lead author of the Pediatrics study. "Every stage in this wonderful process [of learning to speak] is worth celebrating and encouraging."

Persuade your child to speak as much as possible. A good start is often "Tell me about . . . ." For example, if your child is creating an art project, say, "Tell me about your drawing" or "Tell me about the colors you like." And when asking questions, go beyond those that require a simple yes or no response.

--Nancy Gottesman


Mrs. Sanchez said...

I like this!

I don't think I'll have a problem with this, as I talk to my cats on a frequent basis and mmmm, they aren't really going to be talking back to me any time soon. At least not in English.

I think this comes naturally to most parents. I have seen very few parents who read more to their children than talk, however, watching tv is a different story.

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