Engage Your Children

An article from the NY Times caught my attention the other day.  Jane Brody discusses the advantages of talking to your children from birth.  My wife and I did this with our son, and I can’t say enough good things about what it’s done for his conversational development.  For those of you who have met him, you know he’s not your average 2 year old.  He’s a chatter box with a very advanced vocabulary.  Yes, I’m biased…he’s my kid, but there have been many, many times when he’s stopped me dead in my tracks with something that he has said.  I’m amazed on a daily basis at his vocabulary, comprehension skills, and ability to formulate 8-10 word sentences.

I wanted to post this article because of what I experienced the other day.  I was at the zoo with my family and found myself becoming more and more annoyed with one particular lady.  Over the course of about an hour we passed her and her daughter (possibly niece) four to five times, and she was on the phone the ENTIRE time.  It was driving me crazy, and I only had to be around her in passing a few times.  To be honest, I was sad for the little girl.  What a missed opportunity by her mom to share in that experience.  What a lonely trip to the zoo for the little girl.  I can’t imagine taking my son to the zoo and NOT talking to him nor paying him any amount of attention.  By not speaking to her daughter, what kind of message was that mother sending?  How was she communicating with her daughter without actually communicating with her daughter?

This was a situation where both were more than able to carry on a conversation, and the opportunity was missed.  What about when the children are younger and can’t talk as well?  Brody talks about giving your children choices from a very young age even if they can’t communicate with you.  That leads me to my favorite part of the article:

Ask questions that require a choice, like “Do you want milk or juice?” or “Do you want to walk or ride in the stroller?” (An important aside: Too many city children are transported in strollers well beyond the time they can safely walk and run. Young children need to exercise their bodies as well as their minds. The theft of our stroller when our twins were 19 months old was probably the best thing that happened to them.)

How great is that?  She’s writing an article about communication and makes it a point to state that your kids also need motion!  I love it.  Jane, thank you for this article and keep up the great work!  Read the entire article here.