Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Show Me the...Talking!

Be honest, have you ever heard someone talking to an infant in that high-pitched tone of voice, the one that people often use with babies and small children, and thought: “Oh man, she has got to stop talking like that?” Well, you’re not alone; I think it crosses all of our minds at times. But, even though it can sometimes sound a little annoying to adults, according to the book Amazing Minds by Jan Faull, that high-pitched, melodic voice--called child-directed speech or parentese--is actually preferred by infants. Research has shown that parentese holds a baby’s attention longer than regular adult speech. According to Amazing Minds: “With babies, it is not so important what you say to them, but how you say it.” And, interestingly enough, a version of parentese is used all around the world, in every language. It’s really an automatic, subconscious change that we make to our voices. If you really think about it, wouldn’t it be weird to hear someone talk to a baby in a normal tone of voice?

Not only does the way we talk have an impact, but the amount that we talk does, too. I know that I’ve brought up the importance of talking a lot to your kids before, but because of its significance, I feel like I can’t stress it enough. In fact, I was watching a webinar the other day that said that 2-year-olds who have a caregiver who’s very talkative have 295 more words in their arsenal than kids their age whose caregivers don’t talk as much. Similarly, kindergarteners whose caregivers were chatty knew 1,500 more words than their peers who grew up without a big talker around! Additionally, since research has shown that children who are proficient communicators are generally successful readers, it is even clearer that the impacts of talking to your little ones are profound and abundant.

Whether or not you already do a lot of talking with your child, try making a conscious effort to do more. Your child will benefit immeasurably, and pretty soon it will become second nature for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment