by Victoria Simpson
Watch as many movies as I do? Remember that scene in the comedy ‘Shirley Valentine’ when Shirley tells us about her neighbor who talks to the microwave?
Well, turns out it was the right thing to do.
For years experts have declared that reading a nightly bedtime story to your child is the best way to foster a baby’s language learning abilities, but a study done by Irish researchers this year turned this idea on its head.
Researchers found that absent-minded conversation was four times better at improving a child’s communication skills than reading books to them and showing pictures.
The study was comprehensive. It looked at 7, 845 nine-month-old babies, and their interactions with caregivers. 66 per cent of the babies’ mothers stated they always talked to their child, and 94 per cent of the infants had a parent show them pictures, while 80 per cent of the babies were read to.
Suzanne Egan, a lecturer in psychology at University of Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College, was quoted in the Sunday Times as being surprised at the results.
“We would have thought that there might have been a good effect of reading, perhaps more so than the talking,” Egan said.
So, talk away to the microwave, have one-on-ones with the credenza and go ahead and interview the stove. It’s been around a while, and if these walls could talk, yadda, yadda.
However, reading a book to the young ones now and then is still viewed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as a good routine to have, as they believe it helps to build new vocabulary and can predict how well children will do when entering preschool.
Adding in some conversation while doing the laundry can’t hurt though, and there’s a bonus-you could have the only kid on the block with their first word as, ‘Tide’.