Parents who are chatterboxes have SMARTER, HAPPIER kids, study finds


Content Editor / May 07 2019

If you love nothing more than a good chin-wag, chances are you’ll have a clever kid, according to new research.

But forget about baby talk – just chat normally to your child as you would anyone else, and you’ll be giving her a head start in life.

A major new study, led by researchers at the University of York, found link between kids who had regular conversations with adults and their nonverbal abilities such as reasoning, numeracy and shape awareness.

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Getty Images

For the study, researchers fitted tiny audio recorders into the clothing of 107 children aged between two and four.

From listening to the children’s daily interactions with their parents and caregivers, they were able to gauge the kind of conversations the kids were having with the adults in their lives.

Parents were also asked to complete activities with their children, such as drawing, copying and matching tasks, designed to test their little one’s cognitive skills.

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Getty Images

“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,” Dr Katrina d’Apice, a PhD student involved with the study told Science Daily.

“We found that the quantity of adult spoken words that children hear is positively associated with their cognitive ability.”

Dr d’Apice and her team are encouraging parents to talk as much as possible with their kids throughout the day, whether it’s at dinner time or during play or other activities.

Interestingly, researchers also found that found that positive parenting – where parents are responsive and encourage children to explore and express themselves – was associated with fewer signs of aggressive and disobedient behaviour.

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.