There is a plethora of research available regarding the difference between traditional toys and modern toys. Most research suggests that modern, or electronic, toys for infant that employ flashing lights, music or any type of electronic effect have been found to reduce the amount of language exposure, as well as the quality of the type of language used by parents during play.

A study conducted in by Anna V. Sosa, PhD et al. at Northern Arizona University with 26 parent-infant pairs with baby’s that were 10-16 months of age found that children who played with their parents with electronic toys (as opposed to traditional toys or board books) were exposed to fewer adult words, conversational turns, parental responses overall and content-specific words. Furthermore, such children were found to vocalize less while playing with the electronic toys than while “reading” books. Overall, parents produced the most words, including content-specific words, during play with books.1

On the other hand, Jenny S. Radesky, M.D. and Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D., M.P.H. note that digital enhancements gain a child’s attention by activating his/her orientating reflex on the novel visual or auditory stimuli. This response can be very functional in that it demonstrates the intrinsically motivating characteristic of such toys. That is, such toys are very effective tools for teaching Baby Sign in that they are highly motivating.2

Baby Language Toys

Here at Baby Says More™ we understand the limited time that some parents might have for parent-child play due to the reality of life; however, it is important to capitalize on this time by offering your child rich language models and interactions. Perhaps more traditional toys tend to promote richer language interactions naturally, but a parent who is aware of this can use more motivating toys with the understanding that he/she should not rely on such toys to interact with the baby. In fact, digitally enhanced toys are excellent tools for teaching communicative function through Baby Sign!!!

 

1. Sosa, A.V. (2015). Association of the Type of Toy Used During Play With the Quantity and Quality of Parent-Infant Communication. Jama Pediatrics, published online December 23, 2015. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3753

2. Neuroscience News. (December 31, 2015). Electronic Baby Toys Associated With Decrease in Quality and Quantity of Language in Infants. Retrieved from http://neurosciencenews.com/toys-language-neurodevelopment-3330/

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