Can Phones Effect Speech Development?

When I was a young mother, One of the outdoor activities I did was go to the park with my young children. I admit it was not fun for me, but I enjoyed being with my kids, and talking with them, and playing with them. There were other mothers there, and we would stand around and try to talk, to another adult, and watch out kids at the same time.

There was the park, the pool, trips to a mall in hot weather, to be in the air-conditioning ( I needed it), Trips on the bus and the train ( we lived in Boston), and then there was the walking to the corner store, to buy small items. I could not let them go anywhere by themselves, I was like a mother duck with her little ducklings, always with me. I worked a full time job, in the schools, and the afternoons and vacations and parts of the Summer were with the children.

My husband and I wanted to do these things. I am a speech therapist, I talked with them all the time. I had a neighbor who lived across the street who would look out her window at the street, and always would say to me as I pulled myself out of the car after a day of work " now you work for free!" We wanted kids, and talking with them was a big part of my time with them.

I know today's parents love and want to be with their kids. However I see little talking. I see, when I am out with my grandchildren, going to the park to the pool, to the corner store, on trips, parents talking on their phones. When I am on the bus, parents are on the phones, children on their electronic toys. It worries me, so I am writing about it. Parents work all the time, perhaps more than they did when I was holding down two jobs and my husband was working all hours. I am sure if we brought our adult children together for a pow wow about their childhoods, there would be complaints, and they do complain about how we did this or that. But we talked, that they agree on.

Parents want to talk with other adults. My concern, is at what cost? The parents I see I am sure talk with their children sometime, just not in the places, the public places, They are not talking to their children about what is going on around them, or who is playing over there, or what do you think about such and such, in order to elicit speech and conversation in sentences. They are talking on their phones. Sometimes children misbehave when they are not the focus of their parents attention, for sure a parent cannot be parenting all the time, every second of the day.

I would just ask to turn off the phone for an hour a day when out with the kids, Listen to them talk and talk with them. Babies cannot talk , but they love the sounds of their parents voices, and that is important to improve focus. Toddlers babble and you can speak to them, and make "small talk", and preschool children love to talk to their parents, about the ups and downs of their days.

All this talking improves language skills, communication skills, which are so necessary in our life.


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