“Babies are not born smart, they are made smart”
- The more you talk to your kids the smarter they will be.
- Birth to age 3 is the most crucial time for brain development and learning and sets the stage for the rest of your child’s
- By the end of age 3 the human brain has completed 85% of its physical growth.
- The development of the brain is related to the language environment of the child.
“Parent Talk is probably the most valuable resource in our world”
Thirty Million Words Initiative – designed to help parents learn the importance of talking to their kids and how to talk to them.
The Three T’s:
Make an effort to notice what your baby or child is focused on and then talk with your child about it. Follow and respond to a
child’s lead even if they are too young to understand or if the focus is constantly changing.
Get on the same level as your child – sit on the floor with them, hold them on your lap, pick child up, sit with them at
Tuning in is deterred by digital distractions (computers, tablets, smart phones) which are addictive and attention
Tuning in is a three step process: observation, interpretation, action
Increase talking with your child, especially about what they are focusing on. It requires a mutual level of engagement between
child and parent. Narrate daily activities. Parallel talk refers to commenting on what the child is doing. Both techniques work
best when they include establishing eye contact, talking about things in the immediate environment and holding the child close.
Label instead of using the word “it”. Example: “I love it” versus “I love your drawing”. Every label is another word.
Back and forth exchanges between parent and baby/child. Whether parent initiated or in response to a baby/child initiating, the
key is to wait for the baby/child to respond.
Asking “what” questions are not as good at building vocabulary or encouraging exchanges: “what color is the ball?” only asks
the child the retrieve words they already know. Questions requiring yes or no answers also limit conversations.
Open-ended questions are the best – using “how” or “why”
A note about praise:
Not all praise achieves the best results.
- Person-based praise = praising the child: “You are so smart”
- Process-based praise = praising the child’s effort: “You worked hard on that puzzle and you finished it. Great job!”
Research shows that children who hear more process-based praise are less likely to give up when faced with a challenge. This
helps with behavior when parents “catch their child being good” and comment on what they are doing well. Tuning in is
essential. Praising “good” encourages its habit. The more consistent and specific the better.
Directives do not build self-regulation or brains – they require little or no language in response and are often said in an abrasive
tone. Examples: “sit down”, “be quiet”, “put on your hat”, “give me your book”, “don’t do that”, “stop that”. Explaining why
teaches much more and builds better brains! Exception – when safety is an issue use a directive.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF A CHILD’S EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
- Children have rich inner lives. They attribute meaning to their experiences and have their own
perspective on experiences.
- Children’s behavior always has reasons.
- All children are doing the best that they can to be successful in their worlds.
- A child’s emotional growth occurs in the context of deep, sustained relationships.
- Childhood proceeds with regressions and progressions.
- Children may experience developmental delays or deviations.
- Children develop protections against unpleasant emotions.
Source: Lucy Daniels Center-SEED, 2002.