Mindless chatter boosts development

13 January 2015

Mindlessly chatting to your child while doing other tasks such as housework can boost their development, even more so than reading, claims a new study.

Research done by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the University of Limerick in Ireland looked at how bedtime reading impacted 7 845 nine-month-olds. Ninety-four percent of the test subjects were shown pictures and 80 percent were read to, while 66 percent had mothers who often talked to them.

The study found that compared to reading and showing pictures, mindless chatter was four times better at improving a child’s communication skills and three times better at improving problem-solving skills.

The results were surprising and the researchers are now investigating the longer-term impact reading and talking can have on children up to the age of three.

This doesn’t mean you should pack away your child’s storybooks. The study still found reading to infants has a “positive effect” on both problem-solving and communication. And if you run out of things to say to your little one reading a book could be a welcome relief.

-Petro-Anne Vlok

SOURCES: esri.ie, dailymail.co.uk, thesundaytimes.co.uk

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