If you're a parent, you already know your role in your child's life is important. But a new study suggests your reaction to your child's nonsensical babbling impacts his or her language development.
Here's how the research was conducted – 12 mothers and their 8-month-old babies were observed during free play over the course of six months. The free-play sessions took place twice a month and were each 30 minutes long. (Video via American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)
According to HealthDay, when mothers paid attention to the child's babbling, his or her language skills developed more quickly than those of infants who didn't receive that kind of attention.
But just like language itself, these findings are more complex than that.
One of the authors for the study told The University of Iowa, "It's not that we found responsiveness matters, it's how a mother responds that matters."
So what exactly does that mean, and what's the best way to respond?
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association provides some helpful tips:
--Imitate the child's sounds.
--Mimic his or her facial expressions and laughter.
--Talk through your everyday actions.
In short, engage with the child and be responsive to his or her actions and sounds.
Let's not forget, the first three years of an infant's life are very important for brain development, as the brain triples in weight and "establishes about 1,000 trillion nerve connections," according to BabyCenter.
This study was published in the July/August edition of the journal Infancy.