BOSTON (CBS) — Having a conversation with your toddler can benefit the child later in life.
A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds adult conversation with an 18 to 24-month-old leads to better language and cognitive skills during their school-age years.
Certainly, most parents speak to their toddlers but the key is to have back and forth conversations rather than just giving orders “like eat your food” or making statements like “good job”.
Researchers recorded conversations between 146 young kids and adults then evaluated the kids’ language and cognitive testing at ages 9 through 14.
They found that when toddlers were engaged in conversations with a lot of what they call “turn-taking”, they had better IQ, verbal comprehension, and vocabulary scores when they reached school-age.
While reading a book with a young child is a good way to spark a conversation, there are many parents with low literacy so talking about pictures or making up stories can be another good way to engage a young child.
They also suggested that electronic screens can be isolating and can stifle active exchange between adult and child.