Most parents are told that spending quality time with their kids is essential to help develop a bond and improve the mental skills of their children. However, what a parent does in that time with his child also matters. A new study has found that children whose parents speak to them for long periods of time tend to develop higher intelligence and better cognitive skills. For the study, the researchers fit tiny audio recorders into the clothing of children aged between two and four.
They surveyed almost 107 children and their parents for a period of 16 hours per day for three days to help collect substantial data. During this time, parents were also asked to complete certain tasks with their children like story reading, drawing, copying and matching tasks etc.
"Using the audio recorders allowed us to study real-life interactions between young children and their families in an unobtrusive way within the home environment rather than a lab setting. We found that the quantity of adult spoken words that children hear is positively associated with their cognitive ability. However, further research is needed to explore the reasons behind this link - it could be that greater exposure to language provides more learning opportunities for children, but it could also be the case that more intelligent children evoke more words from adults in their environment," said the lead author of the study.
The study found that when parents used high-quality speeches to interact with their kids, the kids also developed better linguistic skills and vocabulary. So kids who were exposed to better speeches turned out to have better speech skills themselves. The researchers also tried to see what kind of impact different parenting skills would have on children. They found that kids who had supportive parents who encouraged exploration and self-development showed fewer signs of being restless, disobedient and aggressive.
"This study is the largest naturalistic observation of early life home environments to date. We found that the quantity of adult spoken words that children were exposed to varied greatly within families. Some kids heard twice as many words on one day as they did on the next.” Stay tuned for more updates.