Perspectives on Parenting by ProQuest

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									                           Perspectives on Parenting
                                                                  By Michael K. Meyerhoff, EdD

                           Language Learning in Infancy
                          It is im-     talk to a baby that hasn’t started       ended up spending a small fortune
                          possible to   speaking yet?                            on things like the “Baby Einstein”
                          over-em-                                               series of videos. And recent re-
phasize the importance of language      The fact of the matter is that virtu-    search seems to confirm what we
learning during the first months and    ally all parents talk to their babies    have known all along. Children who
years of life. As the primary method    to a certain extent. However, it         spend a lot of time watching and
by which humans communicate, it         takes a conscious and concerted          listening to those videos during the
serves as the foundation for ev-        effort to keep up a steady stream        early months and years actually ap-
erything, from education to social-     of chatter during those critical first   pear to lag behind instead of move
ization. And as the most effective      months. While your infant may not        ahead of their peers in language
means of capturing and categoriz-       display any apparent response to         development.
ing information and experience in       what you are saying, maintaining a
mental form, it also serves as the      running commentary on everything         Follow Your Child’s Lead
foundation for all sorts of cognitive   you are thinking and doing while         Many parents who are determined
processes. Consequently, parents        in her presence will pay enormous        to promote optimal language
have a tremendous responsibility        dividends in the long run.               development decide to conduct
to promote optimal language de-                                                  formal language lessons with their
velopment in their child right from
                                        Don’t Rely on Language That Is           little ones. They make up a list of
the beginning of life.                  Not Real                                 words they would like their child to
                                        When it comes to exposing their          know, then sit down with the child
Fortunately, this is not difficult to   infant to a lot of language, many        and painstakingly attempt to instill
do. However, many parents fail to       modern parents have decided to           comprehension of those particular
do as well as they could and should     take advantage of a variety of           words by repeating them and ex-
not because they are unmotivated        mechanical means for doing so.           plaining them over and over again.
or incapable, but merely because        Today there are a host of television     This, too, is a seemingly sensible
they are unaware of easy and ef-        programs, videocassettes, DVDs,          strategy that does not work.
fective strategies that are not nec-    CDs, etc. that promise to provide
                                        a baby with a multitude of valuable      Once your child starts to crawl and
essarily obvious. There are some
                                        language lessons. However, the           is capable of getting around on
rather simple yet extremely im-
                                        evidence is clear that only “live”       her own, there is nothing she will
portant suggestions for parents to
                                        language—a real person talking di-       prefer doing more than exploring
keep in mind as they nurture their
                                        rectly to the child—has the capacity     and investigating the world around
little one’s language learning.
                                        to produce the desired results.          her. Anything and everything will be
                                                                                 completely brand new to her, and
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