Interacting With Your Child: There’s No App For That!

Remember the expression “talk is cheap”? Well, there’s a new twist to that — talking to your child doesn’t cost anything, yet it’s one of the most powerful ways to stimulate their cognitive development.

I’ve been thinking about this since my last post, which focused on the benefits of having a “language-based” bedtime routine for toddlers. What was interesting is that toddlers who had a bedtime routine that featured any type of parental talk — examples included telling a story, reading a book, singing, praying — not only had longer sleep two years later, but also more advanced receptive vocabulary.

So the simple act of having daily devoted time for parent-child interaction achieved what many parents look for in technology — promotion of cognitive development.

I make this point to amplify the idea that in this age of ever expanding electronic opportunities for children of all ages (even babies), there is no substitute for uninterrupted and natural interaction between a parent and child. To be clear, I’m not opposed to technology, and in fact endorse including it as part of a toddler’s everyday life (click here to see my previous thoughts on this topic). It’s just that I’d like to encourage you to enjoy some downtime with your kid (without any devices on) and do what comes naturally — talk, laugh, sing, read, whatever. These are the things you will remember when your child is older. And as an added bonus, you’ll also be doing good things for your child’s brain.

Image courtesy of Dynamite Imagery via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  1. by Jennifer Margulis

    On August 3, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Richard, what you write here is so important and so obvious but also so forgotten: “in this age of ever expanding electronic opportunities for children of all ages (even babies), there is no substitute for uninterrupted and natural interaction between a parent and child.”

    When I start working on my chapter about marketing to babies ages 0 – 1, I’d like to talk to you more about this!

  2. by Rick

    On August 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    My two year old knows almost 150 words, 146 to be exact (I know because I use voKIDulary to track). Our pediatrician says she is very clear and has an excellent vocabulary. Since she was days old, we’ve read 2-4 stories to her every night. We also read stories to her throughout the day. She sometimes gets up to 10 stories a day. ANything from Curious George to random ones she picks from the library. We also never did “baby talk” with her. We’ve always talked in our normal voices. I think this really helps with their understanding of language. Just my $0.02