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Talking to young children improves their IQ and language skills

Talking to young children improves their IQ and language skills


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Why talking to toddlers makes so much sense

Parents try to give their children a good start in life. Of course, this also includes supporting the children in such a way that they achieve the highest possible IQ and improved language skills. Researchers have now found that talking to young children improves IQ and language skills.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) scientists found in their current study that when parents talk to their toddlers, it improves cognitive skills. The experts published the results of their study in "Pediatrics", the English-language journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Parents also have to listen and not just speak themselves

Parents should talk to their young children more often to improve their cognitive skills. However, it is very important that there are proper conversations with the children, in which the children are also listened to. It is not enough if only the parents talk to their children, the experts say.

What improvements did the discussions lead to?

When toddlers speak more and have more conversations with an adult, they average 14 to 27 percent higher on IQ tests. Verbal understanding, receptivity and vocabulary also improved. Although the toddlers may not yet use the correct words, the parents should still keep the conversation going, the doctors explain. Parents need to be aware of the importance of interacting with children, even if they are very young and cannot speak properly, says study author Jill Gilkerson from the University of California, Los Angeles. The following applies: the more interaction, the better.

How was the study carried out?

For the study, the research team examined children between the ages of 18 months and two years for a period of six months. They recorded conversations between adults and children. Years later the children were examined again and their IQ and language skills were analyzed again at the age of nine to 14 years.

Language learning environment should be integrated at home

The results of the study show that early speaking and interaction, particularly during the relatively narrow development window of 18 to 24 months, can be used to predict language skills and cognitive outcomes at school age. A lot of specific development changes occur at this time. The children learn to use vocabulary and put many new words together to form sentences, explains Gilkerson.

The researchers say that it is crucial that families integrate a so-called language learning environment at home. The study shows that verbal interactions between parents and children in early childhood are crucial for predicting later development. (as)

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