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Study: Talking with children benefits their development

Author James Dunsford
Submitted 03-07-2009

It appears there may be another strategy in assisting one’s child develop in a positive manner: talk with them.

A new study appearing in the July issue of Pediatrics has found that adults who have conversations with their children can have more of a "significant impact" on the language development when compared to just reading to them on a regular basis.

As many fathers know, the practice of reading to children has long been touted as a must for every parent. This new research seemingly adds another needed parenting skill to the fray.

"Although [reading to a child is] sound advice, this form of input may not place enough emphasis on children’s role in language-based exchanges and the importance of getting children to speak as much as possible," said the study’s lead author Dr Frederick J. Zimmerman, an associate professor in the department of health services at UCLA.

A total of 275 families with children aged up to 4 participated in the study to determine the language development of infants and toddlers. The children were exposed to adult speech, child speech and television.
Researchers found that children who talk with adults experienced improvements in their language skills.

"What’s new here is the finding that the effect of adult-child conversations was roughly six times as potent at fostering good language development as adult speech input alone," Zimmerman said.
Fathers interested in having conversations with their children will have to use parenting skills to ensure success.

As in all conversations, the first rule is for fathers to listen. It may be difficult at first, especially when a child digresses from one topic to another.

To stay on point, repeat back to your child what they said and ask a specific question. This will engage the child as well as give them an opportunity to elaborate on what happened, and possibly help them focus their statements a bit more in the future.ADNFCR-1662-ID-19248657-ADNFCR