During the first three years of your baby’s life, the brain grows faster than at any other time. Its architecture of neurons and synapses build rapidly, developing through stimulation and interaction with the world around your baby.
These early years will affect your child’s ability to learn later in life.
A study published on early childhood organisation, Talk To Your Baby, found that children from talkative families may have heard 30 million more words directed to them by age 3 than children raised in lesstalkative families.
Hearing lots of words early in life encourages your baby’s neurons and synapses to grow and become more complex with faster connections. Unsurprisingly, the same study also showed that the more words the children had heard by age 3, the better they did on tests of cognitive development. As such, talking, reading and singing to your baby are important for brain growth and future success.
Additionally, learning to read greatly depends on hearing and having a large vocabulary. Babies and toddlers who are exposed to lots of words, including those from different languages, develop larger vocabularies and tend to do better in school than children who hear fewer words.
Talk during bath time, in the car, play games together, in the kitchen and of course at bed time.
…it’s also how you say it – with your body language, the twinkle in your eye, the crease of a smile – that helps your child understand your meaning.
In turn, this encourages them to try to mimic you. By talking to their child, parents are enveloping him or her in a loving, caring relationship, as well as conveying social skills.
Swallows and Amazons principal Jackie Barkham says, “I believe a child’s emotional quotient (EQ) is equal, if not more important than his or her intelligence quotient (IQ). By talking to your child, you are conveying not only words and vocabulary, but how you handle emotional and physical needs, and how you interact with others in positive ways.”
At Swallows and Amazons, Jackie explains that teachers give children chances to speak and communicate “by asking open-ended questions, encouraging them to think and imagine, and having many back-and-forth exchanges.”
As such, make it a point to listen as your child grows, too!
From The Finder (Issue 286), September 2017
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