Want to give your child a head start on their language skills? Just talk to them. Having real conversations using adult words with your baby as early as 18 months is linked to better IQ scores and language skills down the road.
We all know that speaking to an infant is both enjoyable and furthers the parent-child bonding experience, but the benefits of conbversation go far beyond that.
A new study published by the Journal of Pediatrics examined the effects of introducing language early on in a child’s life and how it would shape their development.
Researchers recorded and tracked 146 infants and toddlers for 6 months. They were between the ages of 18 months and 2 years old. They looked at the words adults were saying to the children and the conversations between the adults and their children. Researchers tracked this group of children again a few years later when they were older, at ages 9 to 14.
As it turned out, those children who were involved in conversations that took turns, a back and forth with the adults, had an average of 14-27% increased performance on IQ tests, verbal comprehension, and vocabulary.
This study also helped back up decades of research linking early language exposure to developmental outcomes. Previous studies have also shown early language and cognitive ability linked to the number of interactions that one has with their infant. In a separate study, 14-26-month-old children exposed to more adult vocabulary had higher rates of vocabulary development. Another set a data found, mothers of 18-29-month-old children who spoke more often with varied vocabulary ended up having children who had advanced language development.
This newest study underscores the need for parents to create an early language-rich learning environment within the home. Activities like reading to your child provide good quality interaction along with an enriched vocabulary.
You may not think your 18-month-old is capable of having a conversation with adult words, but try it out! It will help them develop their speech-language skills, and lead to success later in life.
Do you have conversations with your infant? What do you think of these findings Let us know your thoughts in the comments!