Written by Elegant Personalized Baby Blankets Blog - June 10 2015
Every mother and father eagerly looks forward to their child’s first word. Even those early coos and burbles bring joy to a parent’s heart. Language development happens naturally in most children. However, parents can aid the quality and quantity of child’s early vocabulary through a few simple strategies.
1. Talk to your baby. This may seem self-evident, but it may not occur to every parent. As a natural introvert who enjoys quiet, I found myself easily going hours without speaking a word when I was home alone with my newborn. It took conscious effort that eventually became habit to speak my thoughts aloud to my infant daughter, to hold what felt like a one-sided conversation throughout the day. Research points to more advanced development of language when a child hears language in its natural form on a regular basis. This doesn't mean never use baby-talk, but most of your communication should be normal.
2. Cuddle with your baby and their favorite blanket or blankie and read to them.. Many, many more studies point to this single factor being key to advancing language development in your child. Even before a child can understand the story line, he can pick up on cadence, syntax and pronunciation. Reading to your child from an early age also promotes what will likely become a lifelong habit that will benefit your child in all of her life.
3. Minimize technology and media as constant “background noise.” Educational media can be helpful when used purposefully and for set time periods. When the TV or DVD is on constantly as background noise, it disrupts a child’s ability to focus and distinguish between sounds, especially when it comes to deciphering language. Be deliberate about the communication you offer to your baby, at least during these important early stages of development.
The benefits to communication with your baby using these strategies are numerous. Not all are obvious, however. A short list of some of the benefits of incorporating the above methods of which the new parent may not be aware is as follows:
1. Deliberate, ongoing communication with your baby promotes a sense of well-being and security especially when accompanied by his/her favorite baby blanket. The baby understands that you are giving her attention and usually responds, if not coherently in the beginning. Talking to your baby as he gets older even preempts negative behavior. A child whose parent engages her in positive ways in a grocery store, for example, is less likely to resort to temper tantrums and misbehavior to gain her parent’s attention.
2. Talking to your child and reading to your child stimulates his mind to develop his own thoughts, ideas, and questions about the world around him. Cultivating your baby’s innate curiosity will create a life-long learner who is more successful in school and in life in general.
3. Reading to your child in particular directly correlates to better grades in school and higher academic achievement.
4. Another result of encouraging early language development in your baby is a shortened span of frustration. Most toddlers become very frustrated during the two-year-old stage, in part because of their inability to communicate clearly, thus giving the stage the nickname “the terrible twos.” This stage of frustration can be dramatically shortened and even curtailed if your child has an advanced set of language tools at his disposal.
There’s really no drawback to conversing with and reading to your baby from a very early age. At the least, the relational bond between yourself and your child will be strengthened. At the most, you will experience many of the benefits of an articulate child listed above. Whatever the rate of your child’s language development, enjoy the journey as you interact with your baby!