Thursday, April 21, 2011

The importance of talking to your children

Antonio Buehler has some great thoughts on the importance of Talking to Your Children.

He starts with:

The homeschool versus public school debate revolves around the education of children typically only after the age of five. Ignoring what happens before a child is old enough to attend state schools ignores the reality that education begins at home, not at school. A significant portion of a person’s intellectual capacity is determined in his or her first 36 months. As such, parents cannot wait until children learn how to speak or until they are old enough to be shipped off to state schools to begin to foster their children’s intellectual development. Fortunately for parents, developing a child’s intellectual capacity is simple; they only need to talk to their child, early and often.

In 2008, Harvard professor and innovation expert Clayton Christensen wrote Disrupting Class, focusing on how innovation can be used to transform education in America. Christensen felt so strongly about the importance of parents talking to their children that he deviated from the theme of his book and dedicated an entire chapter to this subject.

Much of the education gap between the rich and the poor upon entering school age is driven not by economic disparity, but by how much a child has been talked to by their parents. As Christensen notes, “talkative,” college educated parents spoke 2,100 words per hour, on average, to their infants, while “welfare” parents spoke on average only 600 words per hour.

I remember reading that not only do children of welfare parents hear fewer words, but the quality of the communication is less.  Average and well educated parents will use complete sentances and discuss complex thoughts.  But children of poor parents hear a much limited vocabulary.  With less stimulation there is less brain development.

Antonio has some other thoughts, go check out the whole post.

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