Talk to Your Kids Like an Adult at an Early Age

We have a fun lesson or thing we want to talk about based on a viral video you probably saw from probably a couple of weeks ago, depending on when you’re listening to this episode. And it was of the father and the baby, I believe on the couch. And they were having this normal conversation about life. And you could tell the baby had learned to almost mimic the father so that it looked like this, I don’t know, six-month-old, eight-month-old was having a full-blown, heavy intellectual conversation with his father. It was just hilarious and cute and amazing and awesome. But there’s actually a lot of research and data and things to suggest that this is actually a very helpful exercise, not trying to get your kid to talk like an adult, but you talking to your kid, normal, you being very verbal to your kid, you expanding on a lot of words to your kid. But yeah, Jeremy, what did you think of it? I know you found a study that totally illustrates this.

Yes. Yeah, I love that video. We’re going to post that in the Five Minute Fatherhood Facebook group. If you haven’t seen it, you need to come and join our group and take a look at this video. It’s hilarious. Yeah, there was a 2014 Stanford study that really bared out what was happening in this video. And again, it’s this dad, his baby is talking as if he or she, I think it was a boy, he was an adult. And he was just baby talk. But this really, really helps kids become a lot more verbal. And so we’re encouraging you guys, talk to your babies like adults, constantly. Constantly have these kinds of conversations with your baby.

In 2014, the Stanford University study recorded that parents’ conversations with their babies, they tested these babies’ cognitive skills by tracking how long it took them after hearing a word, like dog or juice, to look at the thing. By the age of two, kids with highly verbal parents were about six months ahead. By three, they were so advanced comparatively that their results were a significant indicator of later educational performance, both in and out of school and, by extension, the quality of life they enjoyed throughout their entire existence.

That’s kind of a strong statement, but it is really important, you guys. This is such a simple thing. Jeff and I get this question all the time. Dads are like, “What do I do with babies? They’re just sitting there. I’m waiting for them to throw a ball.” Talk to them constantly. That’s what you do. And talk to them about what you’re thinking. And don’t worry about … Babies are language processing machines at levels that are so far beyond an adult. And the input of the way that they are beginning to learn language is just the amount of language that they’re hearing and the tone of their voice, particularly of their mother and father.

And there’s also studies I’ve read that say the father has an enormous impact on this because the father tends to use a wider vocabulary with their kids. So what I did with my kids, just as a little tiny tip, is that I love doing this with babies. I’m at a restaurant or something and they’re being fussy, or I’m at a friend’s house. I’ll just take up the fussy baby and I’ll walk and talk to them for like 10 minutes and just talk to them about everything I see. I’ll give them [inaudible 00:02:59], “Let’s take a tour of the house. [crosstalk 00:02:59].

Yeah, and a lot of times they pause and they’re like, “What?” And they stop.

Yeah, you’re just constantly talking to them, talking to them about that painting, talking to them about what’s outside. And just constantly interact with them at an adult-level vocabulary, and just letting them soak in that sort of verbal stream. And that is so important, and dads can have such an impact on their baby’s cognitive development. So, yeah, check out this video, if you haven’t seen it. It’s hilarious.

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