POSITIVE PARENTING: Talking to your toddler could make them smarter

Parents are always looking for ways to make their kids smarter. Researchers say simply talking to them could make a big difference.

The average person says more than 15,000 words a day. Now a new study suggests the more you talk to your kids, the better. Scientists followed 107 preschool-aged children and their families. They had kids wear custom-made digital recorders that were fitted into their clothes. For three full days, software was used to extract and calculate the total number of adult words that were used.

Results showed children who were exposed to more adult conversation throughout the day had better cognitive skills. They demonstrated superior nonverbal abilities like reasoning, numeracy and shape awareness. Higher quality language, such as using more complex words, was also associated with better cognitive ability.

These results suggest you can't spend too much time communicating with your tot. Playing games, reading books and singing songs are some easy ways to sneak in more talk time. It could give your preschooler the head start they need.

Research also found that families who used positive parenting approaches, such as encouraging self-expression and exploration, had kids who were less restless, aggressive and disobedient. This study was the largest family home observational study to date.

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