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The Importance of Language: Talking, Reading & Singing to Children

The Importance of Language: Talking, Reading & Singing to Children

The demands of a modern world often re-prioritize how we spend our time. It’s easy to sit the kids in front of the television or a device as we hustle and bustle to attempt a work-life balance.

However, these means of entertainment cannot fill the role of human interaction with your child. Specifically, reading, talking and singing to your child shape your child’s health and future.

The Brain Is a Sponge

Dr. Maria Alice Alino, pediatrician at Oroville Hospital, states that research shows birth to age five is key to development. “The brain develops most rapidly in the first few years of life when 700 to 1,000 neuroselections form every second,” she says. “If we harness this potential, we will have children who will not only be ready for school, but will have a good shot in getting the most from their education and ensuring future success.”

Consistent language experiences in the form of talking, reading and singing help children understand language. This can influence performance in school and career, and ultimately income later in life.

Books Over Devices

While an iPad or Kindle is a better alternative to television for engagement, an old-fashioned book is ideal for reading to your child. Educational apps are no substitute for story time.

Pediatrician Dr. Eric Neal of Oroville Hospital breaks it down. “Studies have shown that screen time can actually decrease reading and learning potential, even if using educational apps. Especially in younger kids, three to four years, it’s more beneficial to read to them than to use screen time.”

Use technology to aid teaching moments. Talk to your child about what’s on the screen. Make up songs about what you observe.

Reach Out and Read has partnered with Oroville Hospital to provide physical books for children. First Five California supplies books for the project. Children receive one book at every physical or well visit from six months to five years of age. Fresh reading material sparks language interaction and increases enthusiasm for reading.

Bonding While Learning

Even before your child really understands what reading is, you can strengthen the parental bond through the activity. Make it a pleasurable experience for your little one by curling up with a book and reading aloud. Cuddling and interacting make learning more enjoyable.

Dr. Neal puts it best. “The biggest thing is just spending time with your children, particularly in the younger ages when they’re learning to read; when they’re learning.” The bonding time while developing language skills brings you closer together.

“If all parents and caregivers realize how much their children can benefit from talking, reading and singing to them every day, it will make a huge difference in a child’s life,” validates Dr. Alino.

Dr. Maria Alice AlinoDr. Eric Neal

**To listen to an interview with Dr. Maria Alice Alino and Dr. Eric Neal, pediatricians at Oroville Hospital, follow this link:

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