Saying “Um” Around Toddlers Helps Them Learn New Words
If you’re the mom of a toddler, you’ve probably experienced that moment when you realize your once-baby understands just about everything you say. And that’s a little scary, right? From that point, you really have to watch what comes out of your mouth. But the good news is, you don’t have to hold back the “ums” and “uhs” we all tend to use when finding the right word, according to a new study in the journal Developmental Science.
The researchers tracked 2 1/2-year-olds’ responses to language disfluencies -- those are the “ums” and “uhs” we add to otherwise smooth sentences. They showed the toddlers different objects, like a ball, and told them what each one was called. When the researchers used a disfluency before telling the kids what the objects were, the toddlers were more likely to look at the object. Researchers think that’s because toddlers already know that when they hear “um” or “uh,” the next thing they hear is likely to be a new or different word -- and they want to learn it. Aren’t our kids, um...smart?
We’d love to hear some more tips. How do you help your toddler learn new words?
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