Talking to Your Kids, Without the Cooing
October 22, 2015
Last Friday, we shared a link from The Break Womb YouTube Channel of a skit the comedian moms performed to show us what it would look like “if moms talked to each other the way they talk to their kids.” We all got a good laugh. Who hasn’t admired a t-shirt front pocket every once in a while? But there are better methods parents can use when speaking with children that don’t utilize high-pitched tones, obvious placating and exaggerated cooing. In fact, the way we talk to our kids will someday influence how they talk to each other and how they speak in general.
“Even before children can speak, they are picking up oral language skills such as inflection and fluency. They begin differentiating sounds, which is a pre-reading skill,” said Kiddie Academy Director of Curriculum, Renee Thompson.
Here are two of her tips for how to improve that next chat with your little one:
- Because children acquire new vocabulary at lightning speed in the early years, parents should use descriptive language when talking to their children. For example, instead of “Look at the kitty,” one might say, “Look at that fat orange kitty! Do you see her long tail flicking back and forth? Feel her fur. Ooh, that is soft! Listen, I hear the kitty purring. Do you hear that sound?” In this exchange, a parent has helped a child learn through his senses – sight, sound, and touch – and has opened a vault of information and vocabulary that this child will store away and access once he becomes verbal
- Reading aloud to children regularly is the key to building comprehension skills and introduces children to a world of language and concepts that they may not experience otherwise.
Ultimately, children want to learn our language and speaking in full, normally-toned sentences is a great way to model the language you want your child to adopt from the very beginning. These language skills lay the foundation for good communication with children in the future. And you can still pause to tell them how cute they are.
Kiddie Academy’s philosophy is supported by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Here are additional resources: This article talks about a study by leading researchers in the field. Here is an article from scholastic. Here is a short article from Kindermusik linking the importance of talking and singing.