L is for Language and Literacy, too. Babies love Language – How about YOU?

Mar 1, 2013 by

necklaceL is for Language and Literacy, too. Babies love Language – How about YOU?

By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

I recently saw someone tweet an article titled, “Talking with baby may help prevent ADHD.” This is my favorite section from the post:

“Researchers said the findings did not mean that if you don’t talk to your baby all the time that he or she will develop psychological and psychiatric problems. Instead they suggest that active parenting may offer a protective effect against these kinds of conditions.”

Of course, right? Active (loving) parenting offers a protective barrier against neglect, depression, addiction and more. This study has me wondering about the babies in Russia. My father has been a missionary in Russia since the 80’s. He’s told us numerous stories about the orphans left in cribs, sitting in soiled nappies, left alone for hours or days at a time. They have little human interaction and a lack of bonding. I’m not saying that all children in Russia come from this situation; I’m saying that my father has been exposed to this situation for many years and knows it well.

Do these orphans have a higher rate of ADHD? I’d love to know the answer to that…I ran a quick search Online but came up empty handed.

L is for Language and Literacy, too

So do you talk to your baby often? During my years of nanny and preschool work, and now as a mother of four, I can safely say that I’m a talking machine when it comes to babies and children. I wrote a post back in 2010 called “A field trip to the grocery store provides language skills.” The grocery store continues to be one of my favorite places to teach my kids about words, signs, colors, math, nutrition and more…even when I do get funny looks.

I currently have a 10 month old and on any given day you’ll walk into our home and find dad, mom and three older siblings talking to her, singing with her, asking her questions and tuning into the words she is trying to form. Last week I was sitting at the kitchen table with my six year old, assisting with her homework. The baby was sitting a few feet away from us, eating in her high chair. She didn’t appear to be paying any attention to us at all. I glanced over and found her gazing up at the ceiling, calmly surveying her surroundings. I continued to chat with my six year old and we laughed about a term my daughter had just made up: “Baby Friend.” We said the term a few times and then my 10 month old blurted out “Baby Friend!” My six year old looked over at her and then back to me and asked, “Did she just say Baby Friend? That’s what it sounded like. Was she copying us?” We looked at the baby and I asked, “Did you just say Baby Friend?” She nodded her head as hard as she could, over and over again. She grinned at us in total confidence.

In other words, “Why yes, I did. Thanks so much for noticing.”

She hasn’t said it since but in that moment, she said it – clear as a bell.

I don’t know much yet about the language connection as related to ADHD. What I do know is this: language is the basis of all learning. Language assists with literacy success. Language is one of the first and most important things we can offer a baby to teach and to give them access into our world, our thoughts, their family unit and their life foundation.

So talk away to that baby of yours! Chitter and chatter and pay no mind to the folks who think you’re nutty.

Resource: A colleague of mine, Deborah McNelis, runs a site called Brain Insights. She offers products and resources to assist with raising happy and healthy children.  Deborah shares: “Early positive experiences and supportive, healthy environments in the critical early years are vital.”

Additional reading related to infant respect: May the force be without you

About the Author

Shara has a background in early childhood, education, freelance, small business ownership and nanny work. She recently accepted a Special Education Para position and will be returning to work in a school environment. Shara is especially interested in social emotional development, literacy, play, nature, fostering community and cultivating creativity. In addition to writing for her own sites, Shara currently writes for Wikki Stix, Southern Sitters and Nannies, Market Mommy and more.



  1. Please note that Shara hit the nail on the head again by pointing out her favorite part of that article. It definitely was mine too. “Active parenting” is good for your child in every way. It reminds me a little about when people are searching for specific interventions for particular conditions. Often, when looking for the right foods, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains come up. Then when seeking information about exercise, regular is recommended. When turning to rest and relaxation, you can’t beat a full night’s sleep on more or less a regular schedule. Back to the title, check out the three “L’s,” love, language, and literacy. These will actively carry you through to enjoying what all parents seek… their children actively experiencing life to the fullest!

    • Hi Sally – sorry for the late reply! Thanks for the kind words. Love, Language and Literacy – I like that. Thanks, as always, for sharing your wisdom.

  2. Kudos to you Shara. It is wonderful to read your stories filled with examples of the attention and interaction your daughter’s growing brain needs!
    Yesterday, I did a brain presentation that focused on the importance of love, language and play for real learning. Your post and the points you have made fully support the information I shared with the audience. I have already been sharing this post with others!

    • Hi Deborah – Your presentation sounds great – I wish I could have been there for it. Thank you for sharing my post!

  3. Loved this article. I too have worked with many children from Russia, adoptees. Some parents reported the exact same as your Father. I noticed that these children were often testing on the Autism Spectrum or had behaviors that were often hypoactive/hyperactive or disengaged.

    Yes, I believe that the key to great child development is interaction- reading, singing, talking, signing, name it!

  4. Excellent article, Shara. I’m going to link to it on Mom to Madre. Thanks!

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