Is a noisy home limiting your child’s vocabulary?
If your 2- or 3-year-old has been slow to develop a vocabulary, it may be because your home is too noisy. Toddlers who are raised in loud households or environments can have a difficult time learning new words, according to a recent study.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Madison studied how well 106 toddlers, ages 22 to 30 months, learned new words in both quiet and noisy environments.
The children were taught names for unfamiliar objects, then tested on their ability to recall the words. Some of the toddlers were taught in an environment where there was loud background noise, while others learned with much softer speech in the background.
The results showed that only the children who were taught in a quieter environment successfully retained the names of the objects. Researchers found the same results when they adjusted for age and when teaching words using labels, rather than objects.
“Modern homes are filled with noisy distractions such as TV, radio, and people talking that could affect how children learn words at early ages,” said Brianna McMillan, the study’s lead researcher, in a press release. “Our study suggests that adults should be aware of the amount of background speech in the environment when they’re interacting with young children.”
Dr. Andrea Kane, an Advocate Children’s Medical Group pediatrician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., notes that early intervention is essential when normal child development is threatened.
“Developmental delays are common,” she says. “Therefore, identifying the problem early is crucial.”
“We encourage quiet time reading to all kids starting at four months of age to encourage speech development,” Dr. Kane says.
Dr. Kane stresses that well-child care visits are important for screening the progress being made in a child’s development. If parents have any developmental concerns, she says, they should talk to their pediatrician right away.
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