5 Ways Talking to Your Baby Can Boost Your Child's Intelligence

Researchers found that chatting with your child can enhance their IQ, vocabulary, verbal comprehension, and future success

Jun 5, 2019

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Do you want to have a smart child? We all know the answer to that question. Do you want to know how? If you are thinking of preschool, then you are only partially right, the best way to boost your child's intelligence starts long before that age.

Just talking to your baby can boost IQ, language development, and verbal comprehension. This means having a real conversation and not just baby talk or background noise. A study published in the Journal Pediatrics found that a child's development may be enhanced if parents have genuine back and forth conversations before the child turns two.

"Early childcare is not just about diapering and feeding,” study co-author Jill Gilkerson, senior director of research and evaluation at the Colorado non-profit LENA Foundation, told CTVNews.ca. “It’s got to be about enhancing the child’s language environment to help development trajectories.”

The study found that early talk and interaction can be used to predict school-age language and cognitive abilities like memory and reasoning skills that will help them enter school better prepared and contribute to their success.

On the other hand, children who are not talked to by parents will hear on average, 30 million words by their third birthday than children whose better-educated parents use language to enrich their lives. The new research shows that this is far more significant than previously thought.

Here's the five ways talking to your baby will start him or her on the right path:

Children Will Learn How to Use Language

The link between language and IQ is “absolutely accurate,” Sara Piekarski, a speech-language pathologist in Tucson, Arizona told Healthline. “When a child grows up in a language-rich environment, it shapes the way they understand, view, and use language. As parents, we lead by example, and our children naturally develop the same methods and use of language, even at a very young age.”

But it is not just about the number of words a child hears, it is also about interactions between the parent and child both verbal and nonverbal. Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson told Healthline: “If you have a parent who is mute, they can still have developmentally positive interactions with their kids"

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Quality of Speech Matters

How you speak to your child is really important. Don't use baby talk, speaking directly with your children using long, complex sentences can increase their vocabulary. Children in the study whose parents used a diverse vocabulary knew a greater variety of words.

The study also saw a link between parents who are conversing at a high level with their children are more likely to be responding to their children and engaging them in a positive way. “When parents are responsive and encouraging their kids to explore and express themselves,” Navsaria said, “they are basically creating an environment where children know they are being heard and understand they have an ability to influence the attention of others in a positive way.”

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Conversations Connect You and Your Child

This naturally follows, if you are talking with your child back and forth – positive parenting –you are forming connecting bonds with your child. According to Parenting NI, young children who grow up with a secure bond with their parents stand a better chance of developing happy and healthy relationships with others and lays the foundation for better social and academic skills.

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Two-Way Conversations Also Impacts Nonverbal Skills

Researchers from the University of York found that children who were exposed to quantities of adult speech also increased their nonverbal abilities including reasoning, understanding numbers, and shape awareness. All of these are necessary building blocks for school.

Lead author of the study Katrina d’Apice said, “We found that the quantity of adult spoken words that children hear is positively associated with their cognitive ability." And d’Apice and her colleagues also found that children who were exposed to positive parenting showed fewer signs of restlessness, aggression, and disobedience when they get to school age.

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Reading, Story Telling, Singing and Rhyming Count Too!

Experts recommend that you read to your baby from birth. Talk about the pictures in the books and what might happen next. When the baby can, have him or her hold the book turn the pages. Toddlers can be taught what the letters are. Reading can be a great quiet time together and will enhance bonding. Sing songs and rhymes when you are on the go, in the park or in the car.

Reading to your baby gives your child a head-start on developing language skills. Kids who are read to are more likely to have a life-long love of reading and are more likely to do well in school and in adult life too.

 

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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