Talk to your Kids

In recent years, time parents spend with their children has decreased. In 1999 President Clinton delivered a speech, in which he stated that parents were spending 22 fewer hours per week in the home compared with 30 years earlier. How much more might that be now, 10 years later? As parents spend less time with their children, one might ask, “What can be used to best maximize the time they do spend?” One thing that has shown to help is just talking, even to an unborn child. Fetuses do recognize their mother’s voice. And any other voices that are present during their time in utero.

According to one source, this preference helps children to filter out unnecessary noise, and distinguish what is really important. (The fetus. the newborn, and the mother’s voice, Fifer, William P.) This helps them distinguish between people, as at birth babies’ vision is not fully developed.

One study on fetuses showed that there was an increase in heart rate when babies heard their own mothers speak, and a decrease in heart rate when other women spoke, which, according to researchers, showed the babies were thinking, and trying to figure out who was talking. (Babies Recognize Mom’s Voice from the Womb, Dye, Lee)

Melissa Call

~ by Melissa on September 2, 2009.

One Response to “Talk to your Kids”

  1. In my Public and Private families class, a similar issue surfaced while discussing the dynamic of the American family. I agree that time spent with children is crucial to development on all levels, particularly intellectual, emotional, and social. However, 30 years is a substantial period in which any society can drastically change. In times such as these, time is valuable and often unavailable.

    In 1998, Donald Hernandez, a former Chief of the Marriage and Statistics Branch of the U.S. Bureau of the Census wrote: “In my analysis of historical census data, I looked at the rise and fall of the ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ families . . . . I characterized Ozzie and Harriet families as those where the father worked full-time year-round, the mother was not in the paid labor force, and all the children were born after the parents’ only marriage. I found that this type of family structure declined and fell before we knew it. It is in fact a myth that the majority of children anytime since 1940 have lived in Ozzie and Harriet families.

    Although you were not pledging advocacy to the breadwinner-homemaker family, it is not often that a family is able to afford this type of lifestyle. Never was it a question of ‘if’ spending time with a child (or fetus) is essential, I only question the realism involved.

    Kellie Gibson

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