Literacy group ignites research on infant language development
A new study in the UK investigates the possible link between language development and stroller choice.
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Which way does your baby face in the stroller? Is it forward, or back towards you?
A study says that face their caregiver talk, laugh and interact more, and that may affect brain development. It is the subject of an op-ed piece in the "New York Times."
It may be a disturbing development for some parents.
Liz Attenborough, manager of the Talk to Your Baby campaign at Britain’s National Literacy Trust says "Our starting point on this was 'how can we get more children to arrive at kindergarten or nursery better communicators' because there are certainly very great concerns in the U.K. that too many children are arriving with very poor communication skills.
"One of the things the early years professionals over here were saying to me when we started the the Talk to Your Baby campaign was that if the stroller is facing away, there is all of that wasted time when they are not having any communication, not having any eye contact; they are just looking aimlessly ahead without any kind of stimulation.
"We don't want to make parents feel guilty about this. It is the last thing we want to do. In fact, I have been working on this sort-of behind-the-scenes for five or six years trying to get the stroller manufacturers to make more options so that there are two-way facing strollers that can be used in both modes of direction."
Attenborough indicates that these strollers are available, but often at a very high price, even as much as $700. Her work with the manufacturers led nowhere, so she sought out a seasoned researcher willing to aid the pursuit.
The other part of the study reveals the importance of talking with children in their formative years. Children in the study that were carried and faced the parent had much more opportunity for interaction. The parents were also more likely to communicate to the children in that situation. The children even exhibited more laughter as a result of the closer interaction.
"Ten of the twenty babies laughed when they were facing their parents, and only one kind of half-laughed when they were facing away. They need that kind of stimulation to get their brain going."
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