Are You Talking to Your Kids Enough?

I recently stumbled upon this article in the NY Times: From Birth: Engage Your Child With Talk by Jane Brody, who writes that she sees too many moms talking on their cell phones rather than engaging in conversation with their kids. When she saw someone talking to a child she was surprised. Because apparently, where she’s from that’s not too common.

Honestly, I’m surprised that we even have to talk (no pun intended) about this. Are some of us really not talking with our children often enough? Are we not saying, Let’s go to the park! or Please put on your shoes before we go to grandmas house or Are you hungry? Do you want milk?

Don’t we talk to our kids without even really meaning to? Isn’t talking as a form of communication a natural process? We don’t really have to think about talking to our kids. We just do. Talking is a normal part of your day as is communicating with your spouse, your dog, your neighbor, or your kids.

Let this be a reminder to all of us that communication is so important.

“Communication begins as soon as a baby is born. The way you touch, hold, look at and talk to babies help them learn your language, and the different ways babies cry help you learn their language — “I’m wet,” “I’m hungry,” “I’m tired,” “I hurt,” “I’m overwhelmed” and so forth.
Talk to your baby whenever you have the chance,” the American Medical Association advises parents. “Even though he doesn’t understand what you’re saying, your calm, reassuring voice is what he needs to feel safe. Always respond to your newborn’s cries — he cannot be spoiled with too much attention.”

I notice that when I’m wearing my son in a carrier of some sort, I end up talking with him more than if we were in the stroller. This happens simply because he’s closer to me and engaging in a conversation is easier. I feel like we talk quite a bit throughout our day as well. I’m naturally a talkative person, so I find it easy to talk with him. Am I talking to him enough?
What do you think? Are you talking to your kids enough?

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

12 thoughts on “Are You Talking to Your Kids Enough?

  1. I remember the first two weeks my oldest was home, as a brand new mom, I didn't know what to say to him. I almost felt funny talking to him! Alas, that ended quickly, and now , at 3 years old, he doesn't STOP talking, haha!

  2. I sure hope so! I always make time to talk to my son about everything and anything. I have been doing so since he was a baby, so now at 2.5 years its good to be able to hold an actual conversation.

    ♥ Deanna |

  3. I love talking to my daughter. I look at what she's looking at and talk to her about it. When we're out in the grocery store and I'm wearing her in my Mei Tai, it's almost non stop. : ) I must look goofy. “Oh yes, aren't those pretty apples? Mama's going to buy some. Mmm, is this a good one? Let's get five. One, two, three, four, five.” I must look a bit crazy. She definitely isn't talking back yet. I should probably do more of that at home. But I talk to her whenever I carry her, or sing. There's nothing like my baby for making me want to turn all of my communication into music. Probably because she likes it so much!

  4. Andrea- I know what you mean about people thinking you're crazy! Sometimes when I'm talking to Lucas when we're out people look at me so strange, like they think I'm talking to myself or something! 🙂

  5. I talk to Josiah all the time. I have to say though… I think sometimes these articles put undue pressure on parents. I work so hard to make sure I'm talking to Josiah and the fact that he isn't talking yet makes me feel like a failure. I do everything “they” say you should but it's not working! Lol.

  6. One of my friends said to me when my son was born that having a baby is an excuse to talk to yourself in public without looking too crazy. That's pretty much what I've always done with my son, instead of talking to myself I just directed my dialogue at him instead.

    He was always a bit slow with speech, mostly because he was a preemie. But now he's 2 we're really noticing an explosion in language!

  7. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one narrating my way through the grocery store, with a baby strapped to me!

    Actually, some of the best advice I've gotten from my doula / LLL leader (who has given me a lot of damn good advice) was when Peeper was just a few days old, still in the hospital, not nursing yet, and not doing so great with finger-feeding, either.

    She told me to talk to her, as if she could understand, and explain to her what was going on, and why all these things (bililights, heel sticks, etc) were happening to her, and tell her what I needed her to do, so we could all go home.

    She had a lot of medical issues in the beginning, including a heart defect that was repaired surgically at 4.5 months, and I've always explained to her what was happening and why.

    I don't know if it made any difference to Peeper, but it sure helped me.

    Now, at a year old, it's amazing how much of what we say to her she seems to understand, and she's starting to sign, which is just amazing.

  8. A couple years ago when my niece was small, I read somewhere (or heard online or on the radio) that you should say 3,000 words a day to your children. My sister balked…saying that she'd have to talk to her nonstop in order to do that…but really just CHATTING with her & telling your baby about what your doing in your day is A LOT of words!

  9. I can not imagine not talking to my kids. From the moment they were born it seems I was talking to them. I remember when I had E and I was walking down the hall at the hospital I never heard one mom talking to her baby. Looking in the rooms the baby in the bassinet and mom on the bed – silence in the room. That seemed so odd to me. Now my kids are 11, 9 and 19 months and they all talk and talk and talk some more.

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