Family Magazine

Talk with Your Hands

By Maliasa


Move your hands to give your child nonverbal cues -  something tat everyone can do to support the vocabulary learning.

Children learn an amazing number of words. Like little sponges, they soak up new words. But there are differences in the number of words that children learn during their first years. New research suggests that the way parents use nonverbal cues while talking to their children influences how wordy children’s brains are in their early years.

Talking to your toddler has previously been linked to having children who are more verbal. Is it enough to simple talk and use as many words as possible?  Does a more overt teaching style lead to better learning? Does a picture-book environment lead to a child learning more words?  These factors are linked with higher socioeconomic status and this study showed that the quality of the speech was more important that the quantity.

Looking and pointing things are a great way to provide a child with non-verbal cues.

Part of speech quality consists of nonverbal cues. Interacting and explaining words in different ways helps a child to learn new words. It is easier to understand the word “apple” is you are pointing to an apple when you say the word. Repeating a word several times may not be such a successful way. The researchers suggest that using your hands and social cues is a better approach.

Interestingly the amount of talking that the parents in the study did varied with socioeconomic statue. But the use of nonverbal cues did not. However, the total number of words may be important because we tend to use nonverbal cues if we have to repeat a word several times. If you say, “toe” five times instead of once, you are more likely to point of touch your toes at least once while you are repeating the word.

The researchers suggested, “‘The more words a child hears, the more likely it will be for that child to hear a particular word in a high-quality learning situation.”

So TALK with your HANDS, POINT with your FEET, and NOD with your HEAD!

Go here to read more about the research.

Photo: “Mother And Daughter” by Ambro

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog