One of the most important things I’ve learned on this journey is how important it is to talk to your babies and toddlers at an early age. Before Fiona was born I don’t think I realized that the words spoken from parents and caregivers has such a huge impact on the children’s education and future. This “word gap” is a daily reminder of how important it is to talk and engage with Fiona instead of turning on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. 🙂
This article goes into more detail:
“In the early 1990s, a team of researchers decided to follow about 40 volunteer families — some poor, some middle class, some rich — during the first three years of their new children’s lives. Every month, the researchers recorded an hour of sound from the families’ homes. Later in the lab, the team listened back and painstakingly tallied up the total number of words spoken in each household.
What they found came to be known as the “word gap.”
It turned out, by the age of 3, children born into low-income families heard roughly 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers.
Research since then has revealed that the “word gap” factors into a compounding achievement gap between the poor and the better-off in school and life. The “word gap” remains as wide today, and new research from Stanford University found an intellectual processing gap appearing as early as 18 months.”
“The parent should “tune in” to what the child is looking at, talk about it and ask questions that can create a sort of “serve and return” between parent and child.
Suskind says that research shows overhearing a cell phone conversation or sitting in front of a television program doesn’t cut it when it comes to building a child’s brain.”