Talk to your children!

Talk to your children

Until recently, studies on the child's exposure to the language required a transcript of time-consuming dialogues between parents and children, which limited the amount of data that could be collected. Technological advances today allow longer and more complete recordings that help us more accurately assess this word gap. Kids early learning centre provide great learning development to your child.

The language and the brain

Perhaps more importantly, despite a considerable number of studies that relate children’s language exposure to their language skills, there is currently no evidence on the neural mechanisms that underlie this relationship. Understanding it would be of great help to governments because it would allow them to design precise interventions that can help language development, beyond the socioeconomic level of the home.

Researchers at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found new evidence about the relationship between a child’s language and the development of his brain.

Initially, this study supported behavioral findings that show that a higher socioeconomic level correlates with greater linguistic experience and verbal skills. However, he went further and found that it is the number of conversations between children and adults and not the total number of words that explains the relationship between socioeconomic status and language.

Talk helps language skills

After recording and evaluating the parent-child conversations and using a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in which children between 4 and 6 years old listened to stories. The researchers found that those who had talked more with adults exhibited greater frontal activation Lower left, a part of the brain involved in speech production and language processing. This activation occurred regardless of the parents' income, the child's cognitive ability or the number of words he knew.

The results suggest that conversations between parents and children can support the development of verbal skills in part, by influencing the activation of an area of the brain during language processing. This neural pattern explains almost half of the relationship between children’s exposure to language and their verbal abilities. Finally, and a very relevant point for public policy, is that both the conversations between parents and children (the environment) and the activation of the Broca area of the brain (a neural mechanism) mediate the relationship between socioeconomic status and skills Children's linguistics. This shows that there are mechanisms that underlie early language disparities between rich and poor children.

Practical implications

Although what we know about the relationship between poverty, language and brain development is at an early stage, these results allow us to propose new public policy interventions in the development of children’s language skills, which take into account the Neural mechanisms.

In that sense, the MIT study provides the first evidence that adult-child conversations are associated with brain development in children, beyond household income. Parents, and conversations with their children, have the potential to influence the biological growth of the brain of the little ones. So… talk with your children!

How many conversations do you have with your children daily? Did you know the importance of talking with your children instead of talking to your children? What public policy strategies do you think of to improve conversations between parents and children.

Talk to the child: seven essential tips

Always looking into your eyes and offering concise guidelines are keys that help you communicate with the child.

Words and gestures are keys to talking with children. Reaching good communication with children can be difficult, however. Therefore, although each child is different, and the contact requires particular rules. it is advisable to take into account some guidelines at the time of the dialogue, such as being concrete, clear and simple, making sure that the child listens, avoid threats and listen carefully.

1. Concrete and simple messages

The child thinks more concretely and less abstractly than the adult

“Sometimes we forget that our children, especially if they are small, have a very specific type of thinking, while adults tend to express ourselves with vaguer and abstract terms,” describes the psychologist specializing in childhood issues.

"We say 'behave yourself', instead of 'do not throw food on the ground', which is more concrete," adds the specialist. The adult tends not to mark the objectives. "We forget to convey our expectations in a language they can understand," explains the expert.

2. Make sure the child listens

It is necessary to look into the eyes of the child while speaking

It is important to look into the child’s eyes when he is spoken and take a few seconds to know that he has understood. If the child is busy doing something, it is advisable to call him by his name and wait for him to look at the elder who speaks to him. This saves time, avoids having to repeat a message and, above all, frustrations are prevented.

3. Ask for things in a simple and concise way

Children often strive to carry out an order they receive. "However, it is difficult for them to remember a series of orders, so that adults who best communicate with them are who make ordering simple, " explains Dr Valia Vincell, a specialist in child development, in its document. Successful strategies for talking with young children ', published by the University of Virginia (USA).

4. Be kind and correct when speaking

Children learn mostly by example. Kind words make them feel good and teach them how to speak. While abrupt words, in addition to making them feel bad, they forge that same character and predispose them to similar behaviors. Expressions such as “please” and “thank you” are naturally incorporated into your vocabulary, if it is part of the treatment they receive.

5. Detail the consequences of their actions to the child

This is important when asking the child to do something or, on the contrary, asking him not to do it. If the child does not receive any explanation, the decision may seem arbitrary and generate wishes to disobey. On the other hand, when he is explained that “if he does this, that will happen”, he will know why and can understand the good and the bad of his behavior.

6. Give opportunities and not threaten

A consequence is not a threat, explains the expert. "A threat is something that I will not be able to fulfill, and that is what I know, and my son knows it, so he will not take it seriously," he says. A consequence, however, is something that both the adult and the child know will happen if they act in a certain way.

7. Give the child the chance to reconsider

It can be useful to count up to a certain number (always the same) so that the little one knows that he has that time to think, reconsider and change his attitude.


Children need to feel heard, to share their discoveries, ideas and stories with their elders. Besides, speaking helps them to know themselves. Parents should try to pay attention to. But, if they cannot, it is a serious mistake to pretend to be heard: if the child discovers that he has been the victim of a hoax (and it is not difficult for this to happen), he can be disappointed.

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