You might think that parent in the grocery story going on and on in one sided conversation with their infant is speaking into the wind, but research is discovering that all that jibber jabber we exchange with babies has monumental effects on not only their language abilities later in life, but also impacts their emotional health.
Dr.Todd Risley, in collaboration with Dr. Betty Hart, put together a comprehensive research project to gain a greater understanding of the home language learning experiences of babies between the ages of 0 and 3. The results were quite interesting.
One aspect he looked at was the influence of positive/negative affirmations in early life and how it would affect their emotional health in the future. Of the 870,000 affirmations a child hears before the age of 4, with talkative parents 750,000 of those affirmations were positive and only 120,000 were negative. So 86% of the affirmations the baby heard were that they were right and only 14% of the time were they told they were wrong. On the other hand, with less talkative parents it was almost completely reverse. In these situations, upon your 4th birthday you would have a lifetime experience of 86% negative affirmations and only 14% positive. An outcome that could shape your mental tendencies and emotional health for the rest of your life! Or as Todd Risley put it, ” It’s a lifetime batting average that’s hard to overcome with just a little bit of positive experience.”
Dr. Risley goes over many more aspects of the study in this interview >
There is also a powerful New York Times article with more research cited here. I highly recommend reading it! To put all this information into action check out our next post on how to increase phonological awareness for 0 – 3 year olds.
Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes