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It’s Time to Start Talking to Your Toddler

1620255_10104126235038753_562210886_nWhen my oldest daughter, Harlan, was born, my husband got a job offer in New York City. Six weeks later, he moved while Harlan and I stayed behind in Florida so I could finish teaching through the school year. With just Harlan and me at home, it meant that I had a lot of time with a baby and very little time around other adults.

After a while of it being only the two of us, I would start to have full-on conversations with Harlan. Of course, they would be one-sided, and she really had no idea what I was saying, but it was the only way I felt like I could get in any sort of adult time while caring for a newborn by myself.

Even now, as a stay-at-home mom of three, I find myself leaving the baby talk behind and really talking with my kids during our days together. And it turns out, I’m actually contributing to their vocabulary and language concept.

According to Stanford researchers, the earlier and more frequently you engage in conversations with your baby or toddler, the better language and vocabulary development they will have. And while the baby talk is cute, ultimately, it’s using full sentences with good grammar that will make an impact on their language development.

Just because your little one can’t reply back doesn’t mean your talking isn’t making an impact. According to the researchers, by 18 months there is a “word gap” between those that have been exposed to an extensive vocabulary and those that haven’t. There is so much of an impact on how you speak to your child that you can actually see it on a child’s brain scans. The children who are exposed to more words devote more of their brain to learning the language.

While it may feel funny at first because they are just staring at you, having full on (one-sided) conversations with your little one is actually quite fun. You can talk to them about anything and everything, and they won’t talk back to you — so take advantage of it while you can, especially now that we know it’s extremely beneficial to them (and you).

More from Lauren on Babble:

Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!

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