Books Are Made Of Paper

A study shows that toddlers are more interested in books than the same story read from an electronic screen, and are more interested in you when you’re reading from a book than a screen.

Researchers from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital found parents and toddlers interacted more when reading print books together.

“Shared reading promotes children’s language development, literacy and bonding with parents,” lead author Tiffany Munzer, M.D., said in a news release. “… We found that when parents and children read print books, they talked more frequently and the quality of their interactions were better.”

For Results, Turn Your Phone Off

They tested how children learn new words from their parents when interrupted by a text message.

Results suggested that children only learned the words in the uninterrupted condition — when the teaching period was not interrupted by a cell phone call. Interruptions of the sort that we experience everyday from calls and texts that randomly poke into our dynamically unfolding social conversations derail conversations and child learning.

Word learning depends on responsive, back and forth conversations that are both timely and meaningful. The quality, not just the quantity of language input to the child matters for language learning. A study explores the impact of media use by parents in the presence of their children.

Indirect Language and Obesity

There is a stigma attached to the parents of obese children. Often, people assume that they simply allow their child to eat whatever they want, whenever they want. This study demonstrated that the reverse was true. As Dr. Pesch explains, “They were attentive and actively trying to get their children to eat less junk food.”

However, the scientists noted a subtly different linguistic approach. According to their findings, the caregivers of obese children were 90 percent more likely to use direct language, such as “Only eat one” or “You’re eating both of those? No! Don’t! Oh my gosh.”

The mothers of children at a healthy weight, however, were more likely to use indirect phrases, such as “That’s too much. You haven’t had dinner.”

Authoritarian behavior backfires. Kind, authoritative statements work. “Never be authoritarian. Always be authoritative.”

Talk

A child in an environment with a rich spoken vocabulary will read better.

Using special eye-tracking technology, neuropsychologist Signy Wegener has established that when children hear a word, it prepares them to be able to read it later on.

I notice that the study involves words spoken by a person, not televisions or apps.

“The take-home message for parents is: ‘Talk to your kids. Try and use new and complex vocabulary. Take the opportunity to explain what that means during conversation or during shared storybook reading’…”

We talk all the time and I try not to adjust my language for the children so they get exposed to words they might not otherwise,” she said.

Feeling Lucky? Give Your Kid A Smartphone

After looking at language delay, the findings showed that the more time a child spent with a handheld device, the more likely the child was to have delays in speech, with each 30-minute increase in handheld screen time resulting in a 49-percent increased risk of speech delay.

A half-hour per day is a coin-flip. Tails, you can’t make certain sounds with your mouth.

Language Is A Movement

Marieke Longchamp and Jean-Luc Velay, two researchers at the cognitive neuroscience laboratory at Aix-Marseille University, have carried out a study of 76 children, aged three to five. The group that learned to write letters by hand were better at recognising them than the group that learned to type them on a computer. They repeated the experiment on adults, teaching them Bengali or Tamil characters. The results were much the same as with the children.

Drawing each letter by hand improves our grasp of the alphabet because we really have a “body memory…

Teethers Make My Baby Quiet

However, the use of teethers could impede a child’s oral-motor movements and auditory speech perception, according to a new study.

Well that’s one side of it. Let’s hear the other side.

According to ShopBug, teether is an essential product for a baby to soothe their gums during the teething stage. It is designed for ease of holding and assisting the baby’s development of hand-eye coordination.

Who are you going to believe, the honest sales representatives at ShopBug, or those pesky scientists?

A new study from the University of British Columbia (UBC) placed teething toys in the mouths of six-month-old English-learning babies, while they were subject to listen to speech sounds-two different Hindi “d” sounds which infants at that age can already distinguish, according to UBC News.

The researchers found out that the teethers restricted the babies’ tongue movements, especially the tip of their tongue. In the process, they were not able to distinguish the two “d” sounds. However, when the babies were without teethers and when their tongues were free to move, the babies were able to make the distinctions.

Removing obstacles helps.

Goo Goo

Ga Ga.

Psychologists at the University of York found new evidence that specific language used by mothers to talk to their babies can help their child to understand the thoughts of others when they get older.

The child is sensitive to language even “in the mysterious period which follows immediately after birth.” — Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

(Yes it’s not a fancy cover like the other publications, but in my opinion this is the best edition available). [Montessori, M. (1988) The Absorbent Mind. (C. Claremont, Trans.) Oxford, England: Clio Press. (Original work published 1948)]