This is extremely important information. It actually needs to be consciously applied by every caregiver, not just parents. We need to switch our defaults from simply giving information to consciously engaging in the transfer through conversation.
Better still we all need to learn that all teaching moments are also opportunities to engage in one to one communication. With a group, going one to one with an individual is powerful as you are simultaneously interacting with the rest at the same time.
We have all been doing something like this, but consciously doing it is another matter..
Want to raise successful kids? Harvard, MIT study says doing one thing at age 4 could make them happier and wealthier in life
Thanks to modern science, there are a number of effective — yet obvious — strategies to smart parenting. But last year, a group of researchers at MIT, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania found that one of the best things parents can do for their children is to have frequent back-and-forth exchanges with them.
The findings suggest that doing this at an early age (typically between ages 4 to 6) will help develop, foster and improve what is perhaps one of the most important skills that contribute to success in life:
What’s more, a number of studies have supported the idea that children with stronger communication skills are more likely to have healthier relationships, longer marriages, higher self-esteem and overall satisfaction in life.
One study from Harvard even suggested that skilled communicators typically turn out to be great negotiators. In turn, they “recognize the importance of expanding the pie of value for all parties at the table. In the process, they claim more money for themselves.”
For the study, researchers evaluated 36 children using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify the differences in how the brain responds to different conversational styles.
They found that the Broca’s area, a region of the brain that focuses on speech production and language processing, was much more active in children who engaged in more back-and-forth conversations. Children who had more activation in that region of the brain scored higher in tests of language, grammar and verbal reasoning skills.
“The really novel thing about our paper is that it provides the first evidence that family conversation at home is associated with brain development in children,” John Gabrieli, the senior author of the study, told MIT News. “It’s almost magical how parental conversation appears to influence the biological growth of the brain.”
Why Einstein may not have created the theory of relativity if his mom hadn’t made him play the violin
Minding the (word) gap
But findings from this recent study suggest that the “30 million word gap” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
“The conversational turn-taking seems like the thing that makes a difference, regardless of socioeconomic status,” Gabrielli said. “Such turn-taking occurs more often in families from a higher socioeconomic status, but children coming from families with lesser income or parental education showed the same benefits from conversational turn-taking.”