We had just an incredible number of interesting questions about language development submitted on the Beyond Baby Talk post. I love how our kids make us so curious, how they compel us to think about things that we’ve probably taken for granted for most of our lives.
Congratulations to “Dukes Haven Homestead” on being the commenter chosen at random to win the giveaway of a copy of Beyond Baby Talk! I think she’ll find the chapter on siblings and birth order especially interesting, since she has a baby and a toddler to talk with now.
As promised, the authors of Beyond Baby Talk, Drs. Kenn Apel and Julie Masterson, took the time to answer a few of our readers’ questions. The rest of your questions certainly gave me some ideas for future blog posts, for that time in the near (truly!) future when I have time to research and write another post!
Your Baby Talk Questions Answered
by Drs. Kenn Apel and Julie Masterson
What gets more bang for the buck– variety or repetition? Should I be singing the same songs over and over or always surprise my baby with new songs?
~ Tara Sutherland
They both get you bang! On the one hand, you get bang for your buck with some repetition in song, and in language that accompanies daily routines (using the same kind of phrases and routine language when engaged in bath time or changing time) because your baby begins to “catch on” when she hears the same words and phrases attached to the same contexts/movements/objects. On the other hand, variety is good because it allows your baby to experience different words and phrases that make up language. Read more
I keep seeing headlines like these bouncing around my Facebook and Twitter feeds:
“Colorful Plates Boost a Picky Eater’s Appetite”
Have you seen them, too? After doing the research for my article on getting picky eaters to try more veggies, I take notice when I see claims of a new strategy that might be useful to parents of picky eaters.
I went to take a look at the study and was further intrigued when I found that it was conducted at Cornell University, my alma mater. Go Big Red! Cornell has a very well-respected Nutrition department*, so I had high hopes for this one. I thought it even might make a good blog post. But when I actually read the study, I decided it wasn’t much help at all. This study told us nothing about how to get picky eaters to eat better or how to improve anyone’s appetite – the headlines were exaggerated. [*For the record, the authors of this study were from departments of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell and Art, Media, and Design at London Metropolitan University – they aren’t nutritionists.]
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started writing blog posts about new studies and then stopped mid-way through when I realized that I was spending more words talking about the limitations of the study than the findings. So I wasn’t planning to blog about this study until I saw it covered on the Wall Street Journal’s family blog. Their article concluded, “To get our picky kids to eat, we may have to become both short-order cooks and food stylists.” No pressure there.
The UK’s Daily Mail also published an online article about the study. It stated, “Scientists have found youngsters are more likely to clear their plate when there is more colour and choice.”
CLEARLY not enough color or variety in this meal.
Scientists have found nothing of the sort. Here’s the run-down of what they actually did find: Read more