When a niece was just a wee baby, her mom (my sister) and she were grocery shopping. My sister talked to my niece about the food they were selecting and asked what other items they should choose. Now, as I mention, my niece was just an infant, and a stranger pointed this out to my sister, asking her why she was talking to the baby when “she couldn’t answer back.” My sister calmly replied, “How is she going to learn if I don’t speak to her?” and continued with her shopping (and talking to her baby).
I know. It seems like a simple concept. Talking. However, for many new parents, it can seem like a strange concept, talking to this tiny human who, as the above stranger pointed out, cannot talk back. In fact, the sounds they make, the gurgles, the ahhs, and their smiles are them responding. Research confirms that the more we talk to infants, the larger their vocabulary will be. During the 1990s, a term was even developed that highlighted the word gap between those infants who were consistently talked to and those who were not. Recently, I came across another article confirming and supporting these findings.
By the way, talking is one of the five practices of Every Child Ready to Read. Talking is a great way to describe the world to your child. You can not only say that it is time to get dressed, you can say “let’s put on your red shirt today”. When you’re taking a walk, you can point out the blue sky, the fluffy white clouds (or go for the gold here and call them what they are! can you see the cumulus clouds), the loud sirens on the ambulance, the smooth texture of the blade of grass. And yes, I do mean use these words! I am amazed at the words my own (almost ) 28 month old uses because everyone around her talks to her. Words give objects definition, feelings meaning, and surroundings description!
The library has some great resources as well. Also, be sure to check out the new parenting collections at the Main Library, Madison Square, and Ottawa Hills.