A project of the Child Trends News Service supported by the National Science Foundation

Interactions with Baby Forecast Future Success

baby talk

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—Parents are always looking for ways to help their kids get ahead academically. But did you know how you talk to your baby now could sharpen their academic skills later in life?

Reading…playing…and talking with your baby or toddler are fun ways to bond. Now research finds that simple activities like these could also help them out later on. Researchers at Purdue University studied more than 1,300 families and followed their children from one month to age 15. They evaluated how mothers and caregivers interacted with the little ones when they were six, 15, 24, and 36 months old. Later, the scientists analyzed the children’s math and vocabulary skills by looking at achievement scores.

Results showed that moms and caregivers who provided more stimulating and responsive interactions with their babies and toddlers during the first three years of life had children who performed better on both math and vocab assessments. Examples of stimulating and responsive parenting include, regularly talking to a child, reading a book, providing positive and constructive feedback, and responding to a child with a warm regard. What’s the bottom line? Working with your baby now could pay off years down the road!

The study also found that children who had less stimulating or responsive interactions with caretakers or mothers performed poorly in mathematics later in life. Having high-quality interactions appear to buffer against this effect.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

(Sources: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-56422-001 , https://www.childandfamilyblog.com/early-childhood-development/mothering-cognitive-development/)

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