I recently read an article on the CBC News site titled Nothing short of remarkable’: Study finds parents’ chats with their toddlers pay off 10 years later by Amina Zafar. This is a great article –go read it. But, if you want the short version, here’s my condensed version:
- Read to your kids, even if they can’t talk yet.
- Speak WITH them, not TO them. This means conversationally where they reply, even if they aren’t making sense/words.
More specifically, this study, “Language Experience in the Second Year of Life and Language Outcomes in Late Childhood” concluded that talking with your child helps them perform better – conversation with kids aged 18 to 24 months old produced marked cognative/academic performance improvements for the following 10 years.
- Develop a daily routine.
Create a time in your child’s day where YOU read to them, where YOU talk with them.
- Create 1-on-1 Time.
If you have more than 1 child, create a time slot for each one of them to be with you where they have your complete and undivided attention. Maybe not on the same day, maybe both parents can each take 1 kid. Figure it out.
- Stick to it.
Getting this started is great, but sticking to it for years is the challenge that will pay off.
Remember that this is not for you; it’s for your child.
- Your child will come to crave this attention from you. You may not realize this, but kids calm right down when they know that they can have your undivided attention. They feel secure, at ease, comfortable.
- You’ll find that these conversations and reading sessions will be become enlightening. Your child will eventually start sharing their deeper thoughts with you.
- You’ll miss it when you stop, so don’t.