Another reason to spend more one-to-one time with bubs! –
Babies who frequently communicate with their caregivers using eye contact and vocalisations at the age of one are more likely to develop greater language skills by the time they reach two, according to new research.
Scientists say the findings should encourage parents to pay close attention to babies’ attempts to communicate before they can use words, and to respond to them. In the study, researchers looked at 11- and 12-month-old babies’ vocalisations, gestures and gaze behaviours, and at how their caregivers responded to them. “These have never been looked at together in the same analysis before,” said Dr Ed Donnellan, from the University of Sheffield, the lead author on the study.
To measure the interactions, the researchers videoed infants and caregivers at home, and asked them to play as usual. “We took those recordings back to the university and very meticulously coded what was happening. We looked out for every time the infant vocalised, or gestured, and we coded all the caregivers’ responses,” said Prof Michelle McGillion of the University of Warwick, a co-author of the work published in the journal Developmental Science and presented at the British Science festival.