Turn off the background noise

Turn off the background noise
Did you know that research has shown that background noise can impact on language development? Let's talk about why this is.

Have you ever driven though the drive-thru at your fave fast food place and turned down the radio so that you can focus on reading the menu?! Or turned your music off so you can follow directions?! Yeah me too. Our brains aren't as good at multitasking as we'd like to think, and extra noise can be really distracting. The same applies when it comes to your little one playing and learning language. Research has shown that the presence of background noise can make it more difficult for toddlers to learn new words. Children learn language best through turn taking interactions back and forth with an adult, so even those TV shows that are marketed for children as "educational" are not supporting your little one as much as just playing with them does. The TV, especially for under 2s, can just be a confusing, flashy, noisy box, distracting play and language learning. Unless you're helping your child make sense of the words within the background noise, it can negatively impact their language learning.

Your toddler depends on you talking with them and putting language to their play so that they can learn new words. When there's background noise like the TV, radio, podcasts or loud conversations; you as an adult are more likely to be listening in to those things than talking. The less you talk, the less language they learn. So background noise is distracting for the both of you.

BUT THIS IS REAL LIFE. Music is wonderful. Sometimes we need to listen to the radio. People talk. Dogs bark. TV can be a lifesaver if someone's sick. It's impossible to provide an environment with zero background noise. What I'm suggesting is that adults be mindful of noise and try to create lots of quieter time. Turn the TV off as much as possible. Don't leave music on all day. Be comfortable in quiet! The more you're joining in with and talking with your child, the more likely they will be to engage with you and learn new words.

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