Growing up with strong parental bonds has been shown to boost the development of literacy in young children, according to research by the Sutton Trust. Researchers believe that attachment can support cognitive and linguistic development because parents who are secure make for better ‘teachers’ and children who feel secure are more receptive ‘students.’
Early Language Development
Another study conducted by the Literacy Trust emphasises the importance of parent-child communication. This can begin even when the child is in the womb. By listening to their mother’s voice early on, babies can become sensitive to the sound and rhythm of their parent.
Around the age of two to three months there is increased social interaction through eye contact, social smiling and responsive cooing. Reciprocal interaction between mother and baby builds a firm foundation for parent-child bonds that can improve linguistic development.
Later Success in School
During their first 24 months, the home learning environment influences language acquisition and performance at school entry for toddlers. Parents can give their children an advantage when it comes to language development by talking, reading and responding to their babbles when they are young.
Children who have secure attachments with their parents from a young age are thought to perform better on tasks that relate to working memory and cognitive flexibility when they are school age. This is because their attachment security between the ages of one and two influences those brain functions.
Communicating with Your Baby
Early communication activities between parent and baby are very simple and can be easily made part of a daily routine.
- When feeding your baby, try reciting a nursery rhyme.
- While going about your day, talk to your baby about the things that are going on around you and what you’re both doing.
- Play games that involve sustaining eye contact and changing facial expressions, such as peek-a-boo.
- At bath time, sing songs to your baby.
- When tucking your child into bed, read them a storybook.
Language development is a natural part of growth for children, but parents can help to support development through communicating regularly with their child even when they are in the womb.
Article supplied by Sam Flatman is an outdoor learning specialist and an Educational Consultant for Pentagon Play. Sam has been designing playgrounds for the past 10 years and has a passion for outdoor education. Sam believes that outdoor learning is an essential part of child development, which can be integrated into the school curriculum.
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