Jane Brody, personal health columnist for The New York Times and a grandmother, wrote a really important article yesterday, September 29, headlined “From Birth, Engage Your Child with Talk.” This generation of mothers is different from ours in many ways – one being those ubiquitous cell phones. Yes, I know, we use them too – but when we’re with our grandkids? Rarely. In her column, Jane echoed a point I made in the introduction to SUPER GRANNY:
“I often see parents talking on their cell phones while they are out with their children—walking in the street, pushing them on playground swings, or riding a bus—being more involved with the phone conversation than with the child. But I never see a grandmother opting for cell phone over child. No matter how busy we are, when we take time out from our careers and our other activities to be with our grandchildren, we know that this is an event, a precious interlude, one that we want to experience as fully as we can. We know how fast children grow up.”
Jane quoted communication experts on the importance of talking, reading, and singing to young children right from infancy, and she gives a lot of good pointers on having the best conversations – pointers that we grannies can also use. Just a few of her good examples:
* Talk while doing things and going places and point out sights along the way.
* Use simple but grammatical speech – no baby talk.
* With a baby who’s not talking yet, guess what she or he wants, and then answer with words.
She doesn’t mention in this article teaching babies how to sign, which I described in SUPER GRANNY as another way to begin communication with preverbal children. I only wish I had an infant or toddler in the family that I could talk to these days!