Friday, November 21, 2014

Use your words – The research on talking and singing to children

Surprisingly the answer is not "it depends on who is singing. Benefits of singing to your child go beyond improved language skills. A Wiley study in 2014 found that infants who were sung too while their mothers held them skin-to-skin had better heart rates than those whose moms held them skin-to-skin but did not sing. This study also showed that moms had less anxiety. Similarly, a 2011 article reported that hearing lullabies brought a sense of calmness and security to infants and strengthened the bond between the infant and their caregiver. In the book Genius of Natural Childhood the authors shared that many parts of a child’s brain responds when a baby hears music.  

Baby talk is more effective when parents speak with a child individually, without other adults or children around. A 2014 Standard University Study found that exposure to child-directed speech -- as opposed to overheard speech -- sharpened language processing skills of infants. Researchers at University of Washington and University of Connecticut showed that baby talk in one-on-one conversations with children is linked to better language development.  

The overall goal of singing and talking is to help increase the child’s familiarity with language. 

It is super important as a parent to understand that by starting in infancy, we can play a role in changing our children's life trajectories.

How often do you talk or sing to your baby?

Happy Parenting!

Visit the articles cited below for more detailed information on the recommendations mentioned in this blog.

Articles Cited
  1. Berglund, Eriksson M., and Westerlund M. (2005). Communicative skills in relation to gender, birth order, childcare and socioeconomic status in 18-month-old children. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 46, 485-491
  2. Oshima-Takane, Y., Goodz, E., Derevensky, J. (1996). Birth Order Effects on Early Language Development: Do Second Born Children Learn from Overheard Speech? Child Development. 67; 2: 621-634; Erika Hoff-Ginsberg (1998). The relation of birth order and socioeconomic status to children's language experience and language development.Applied Psycholinguistics, 19, pp 603-629.
  3. Stanford University. (2014, February 13). Psychologist shows why talking to kids really matters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from
  4. University of Washington. (2014, January 6). Babbling babies – responding to one-on-one 'baby talk' helps master more words. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from
  5. Wiley. (2014, August 4). Maternal singing during skin-to-skin contact benefits both preterm infants, mothers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from
  6. Women & Infants Hospital. (2014, February 20). Premature infants benefit from adult talk, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from

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