Talk to Them

A recent New York Times article describes a study comparing the behavior of mothers pushing babies in strollers that face the mother with mothers pushing babies in strollers that face away from the mother. Not surprisingly, the study found that the moms who can see their babies’ faces talk to the babies more while strolling.

Talk to them, talk to them, talk to them. It’s just as important as “read to them, read to them, read to them.” And talk to them with respect and dignity, the way you’d talk to another adult. According to my husband, I talked to our daughter constantly when she was a baby. I’ll admit, it wasn’t just because I knew it was good for her: she was the only other human being in the house with me all day and she was a captive audience! I probably sang to her a lot, too.

I’m trying to imagine all the ways in which our voices affect our babies: the sound — familiar and therefore comforting; the rhythm — providing clues about whether to be excited or soothed; the syllables — puzzle pieces for them to notice and then later notice again.

I’m sure most of you already know that you should talk to your babies. For me, it was just nice to see that knowledge validated in the article. So, pat yourself on the back, and if there’s a baby in your house, go ask her what she thinks you should cook for dinner tonight. Even though she can’t answer, she’ll be glad you asked.

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1 Response so far »

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    […] The Expanding Life reminds us reading to our children is important, but we also need to Talk to Them. […]


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