If you have a baby that is learning to speak, you may feel the need to talk constantly to boost their vocabulary. However, a new study suggest that another issue is key. The use of non verbal hints to help your baby figure out what the word means.
To put it another way, it is not only important to talk to your babies but to also connect the words you use to the world around them.
The best part about this is that anyone can use this approach, regardless of education or vocabulary level. If you use the effort to talk to your babies about their surroundings you will have a great impact on how they learn the words. A better vocabulary often translates to greater success in school and in life.
The issue is the way human learn to speak, especially as babies when the words do not make any sense. In the very beginning, a parent needs to do some world to word pairings. Connect objects like a dog or a fork to a word for each. It is not just a matter of pointing to something and saying it is an orange.
Here is an example. If you point to the sky and say something is an airplane the child might not know if it is the cloud or a bird flying. A new study attempted to figure out how a parent’s ability to provide context affects a child’s vocabulary in time.
The researchers created an experiment for helping them understand which parents provide more context when talking to their kids. They polled 218 college students to view video of parents talking to their kids with the sound muted. Then had the students try to figure out which words the parents were using. The theory is that the students would detect more words from the muted video if the parents used more non verbal context by pointing at objects they are talking about to the child. The researchers then waited 3 years and checked the vocabulary of the babies who were then between 14 to 18 months old.
The results were that kids had larger vocabularies if the words of their parents were more decipherable by the college students. This test was not affected by the education or income of the parents. It suggest that it is not a matter of the parents simply knowing more words.
What does this mean in the larger picture? A huge message for parents, it is not only that you talk to your child, but how you talk to them as well.