Are you listening?? Well, listening is the topic for today. Most adults, and older kids, have gotten so used to 24-7 background noise, that many feel they can’t do anything without the TV or radio on. But how about toddlers, when they are trying to learn to talk, in the first place?
In the journal, Child Development, a study of over 100 kids aged 22 to 30 months found that kids learned more words much faster, if there wasn’t background noise. There seems to be a period of time, maybe a type of “Critical Period”, where the brain has to really get the words memorized and understood, and if that doesn’t happen, then it may take longer to learn to speak and to understand things.
And that makes sense; the child is hearing all kinds of things for the first few times, and the little brain doesn’t know what is related or what to ignore, so has to use a lot of processing brain power for non-useful distractions. It is recommended not to have any noise on, like radio or TV while the child is sleeping, and only have TV/media use 1-2 hours a day after the child is 2 years of age.
It is also recommended to read to and with a child often and to do a lot of talking with the child, smiling, laughing, singing and any other positive communication to encourage expression and thus brain idea building. It has been shown that the more words a child hears when young, the better the vocabulary and the thinking ability.
But it also has been shown that the words from TV, Ipads, and other artificial sources just aren’t the same as “the real deal”. So talk to and with that kid often, and turn off the background noise, if you have a little one around. It’s far better to put your attention toward your special little someone, than to be distracted by random noise, and…. don’t forget the hug!