Raising Children : A gadget-free childhood is vital for speech development

From the first smiles, to the gurgles, to the coos, to learning to say “mama” or “dada,” all “Little Humans” love to communicate in their own unique way and they hope you’ll talk right back but sadly for our children it’s just not happening, if you ask me.

With both parents at work, a home that misses its grandparents thanks to our ‘nuclear’ attitudes, gadgets seem to be slowly replacing their traditional place in upbringing, even doubling-up as the new age baby sitters. So it doesn’t come as a surprise to come across a lot of preschoolers who have delayed speech development, or employ American/British accented monologues. They are just not learning to communicate since nobody is “speaking” to them the good old way. Children are introduced to gadgets as early as 2-3 months of age. Parents need to stop this. They should have a strict “No Gadgets around Children” policy, turn their own gadgets off and spend real time with children, in the real world. This is the most important place for children to develop cognitive, social and language skills.

Simply put, new age parents need to get old-fashioned and stop digitizing their kids.

Period.

Here are a few simple yet powerful strategies to help children develop and reinforce “speech” through the early years .

♥ Start talking to your child at birth. Even newborns benefit from hearing parents talk.
♥ Respond to the bay’s coos and babbling.
♥ Play simple games like peek-a-boo and patty-cake.
♥ Talk to your child, a lot. Tell them what you are doing about anything and everything as you do it.
♥ Read age appropriate books aloud. If your baby loses interest in the text, just talk about the pictures.
♥ Sing to your child and provide them with music. Learning new songs helps your child learn new words, and uses memory skills, listening skills, and expression of ideas with words.
♥ Use gestures along with words.
♥ Don’t try to force your child to speak.
♥ Expand on what your child says. (For example, if your child says, “MILK,” you can say, “You want Milk!”)
♥ Describe for your child what they are doing, feeling and hearing all through the day.
♥ Listen to your child. Look at them when they talk to you. Give them time to respond. Don’t be tempted to fill the silence
Encourage storytelling and sharing information.
♥ Play with your child one-on-one, and talk about the toys and games you are playing.
♥ Plan family trips and outings. Your new experiences give you something interesting to talk about before, during, and after the outing.
♥ Look at family photos and talk about them.
♥ Ask your child lots of questions.
♥ Don’t criticize mistakes. Instead, just model correct sentence formation
♥ Have your child interact with kids whose language is a little better than theirs.
 
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A gadget-free environment should be number one priority/factor while choosing a preschool for your child.

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Lisa Guernsey at TEDxMidAtlantic on How the iPad affects young children


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