Posts Tagged ‘ communication ’

A New Way To Help Babies Learn Language: Study

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Improving Language Skills Before Babies Can TalkWhile a baby’s first words aren’t typically spoken until around 12 months of age, new research from Rutgers University shows that through specific auditory training, a baby’s brain development can be sped up to improve overall language acquisition and processing.

The research, which was published in Journal of Neuroscience earlier this week, states:

 ”The researchers found that when 4-month-old babies learned to pay attention to increasingly complex non-language audio patterns and were rewarded for correctly shifting their eyes to a video reward when the sound changed slightly, their brain scans at 7 months old showed they were faster and more accurate at detecting other sounds important to language than babies who had not been exposed to the sound patterns.”

“If you shape something while the baby is actually building it,” April Benasich, director of the Infancy Studies Laboratory at the University’s Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience said in a news release, “it allows each infant to build the best possible auditory network for his or her particular brain. This provides a stronger foundation for any language (or languages) the infant will be learning.”

While this research has not been carried out long-term, the team that worked on the experiment plans to continue it until the babies that were initially involved reach 18 months old.

Your baby’s brain is a sponge, ready to soak up and learn about all of the sensory stimuli around him. Follow these tips to help him learn to talk.

Playing With Baby: Let the Music Play
Playing With Baby: Let the Music Play
Playing With Baby: Let the Music Play

Photo of baby courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Screen Time at Mealtime May Be Bad for Families

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Teenagers who watch television or use electronic devices during family meals are more likely to experience problems ranging from poorer nutrition to impaired family communication, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  More from Reuters:

Experts have suggested turning the TV off at mealtime for years. But with the advent of cell phones and other handheld devices, kids can bring all kinds of media with them to the table.

“The findings of this most recent paper showed that mealtime media use is common among families with adolescents but that setting rules around media use at meals may reduce media use among teens and have other positive benefits as well,” lead author Jayne A. Fulkerson told Reuters Health in an email.

Fulkerson is the director of the Center for Child and Family Health Promotion Research at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing in Minneapolis.

“Parents who are having family meals with media could choose to make some rules excluding media at mealtimes to spend more quality time with their children,” she said.

Fulkerson and her colleagues asked more than 1,800 parents how often their adolescent children watched TV, talked on the phone, texted, played games or listened to music with headphones during family meals.

They also asked parents if they set rules on media use at mealtime and whether they felt family meals were important. Children answered questions about how well their families communicated, including how often they talked about problems with their parents.

Two thirds of parents reported that their teens watched TV or movies during family meals at least some of the time. One quarter said the TV was on frequently.

Texting, talking on the phone, listening to music with headphones and using handheld games were less common. Between 18 and 28 percent of parents reported those activities happened at mealtime, according to findings published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Close to three quarters of parents said they set limits on mealtime media use.

Image: Family on cell phones at the dinner table, via Shutterstock

Try our 12-week plan that helps everyone in your home develop a healthy lifestyle.

Family Dinners: 4 Tips To Make Them Better
Family Dinners: 4 Tips To Make Them Better
Family Dinners: 4 Tips To Make Them Better

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Parenting ‘Refresher’ Course May Help Caregiving Grandparents

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Grandparents who are asked to step in and play a major role in caring for their grandchildren are benefiting from a communication education program in Australia that aims to refresh their memories when it comes to fostering healthy, open relationships with children.  More on the program, which is also showing positive changes trickling down to parents, from Reuters:

Researchers found families who had been through the program, designed to encourage better communication between generations and give grandparents a parenting “refresher” course, reported fewer behavior problems among children.

“The main reason we wanted to focus on grandparents is that there still aren’t that many parents getting involved with parenting programs,” James Kirby, the study’s lead author, told Reuters Health.

That means children aren’t benefiting from the techniques taught in those programs, Kirby said. He is a research fellow at the Parenting and Family Support Centre at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

“Going through a channel such as grandparents is another way,” he said.

That’s because many older people provide some amount of care for their grandchildren.

The new program is an adaptation of the existing Triple P-Positive Parenting Program, which has existed for about 30 years. The version for grandparents lasts nine weeks and consists of seven group and two phone sessions.

The sessions focus on parenting, the relationship between grandparents and parents and unhelpful emotions – such as anxiety, stress and anger. The program takes about 15 hours to complete.

Image: Grandparents and child, via Shutterstock

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