Talk with your babies and toddlers. It's not new, earth shattering, nor the latest trend in parenting. It's probably the most simple, natural act we do as parents. However, many may not have heard about some of the amazing research involving parents and young children. Studies have found that by age four, children who experience a great deal of language have stronger friendship skills, more pre-academic skills, larger vocabularies, and higher IQ's. One study found a difference of up to 30 million words heard between the ages of birth through four years, among children in an early childhood study. Those on the receiving end of fewer language experiences suffered more delays in academic and social areas.

Research can vary, and while one popularly-cited study lists 30,000 words per day as an ideal average, another lists 17,000 as a very good target. The difference works out to approximately 42 or 24 words per minute, given an average 12-hour waking day. While either one may seem excessive, the research is solid. A single number is not magic, but the consensus is clear: more words heard goes hand in hand with stronger social-emotional and academic skills.

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