There is nothing more magic than the sound of your child’s first word.
Language is such an important part of our lives and when baby starts communicating in a comprehensive way, not only does it make us proud, it also makes life a bit easier!
Parents often prompt babies with words such a “mum”, “dad”, “bottle”, the name of their favourite stuffy and their own name to encourage them to start talking.
In fact, I’m pretty sure I spent the first year of each of my children’s lives walking around the house naming inanimate objects: table, cup, chair…
At child development screens we are asked about how many words our children knows. Many parents invest their time and energy in expanding their child’s vocabulary. We may show them flash cards, read books or engage apps and other technology to help their development.
However, a recent study done with 4 to 6 year olds has shown the most effective way to enhance your child’s vocabulary and language skills.
The key is conversation.
Cognitive scientists from MIT have found that the way we communicate with young children can actually have an impact on how their brain develops.
Their research has shown through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that there is a correlation between brain development and kids who experience more family conversation.
Testing showed not only a greater vocabulary but also that grammar, comprehension and verbal reasoning all benefited from greater exposure to conversation.
According to a release from MIT News,
The researchers believe interactive conversation gives children more of an opportunity to practice their communication skills, including the ability to understand what another person is trying to say and to respond in an appropriate way.
Engaging with your child and taking conversational turns may seem like common sense, however in busy and time poor families some young children may not benefit from varied, interactive conversation on a day to day basis.
Of course, we also can’t overstate the enormous social and emotional benefits of conversation with our children.
So next time you are thinking about how chatty your child is, just imagine how much their brain is benefiting in the process!