Crib Talk: Talking at Bedtime

Does your toddler or preschooler talk to herself when she's alone in bed? Her monologues may help her make sense of her day. At least, that's the theory from Katherine Nelson, a psychologist at the City University of New York. Nelson and her colleagues studied "crib talk" and found it to be very rich.

New Experiences

Their evidence shows that small children who chatter to themselves are re-creating their world by retelling and interpreting key experiences, such as being left at day care or meeting a new pet. By talking these experiences over, your child finds meaning in them and this, in turn, enhances her developing sense of self.

Listen and Learn

These special musings are part of your child's growing emotional and cognitive skills. So listen to what he has to say without interrupting. Don't be surprised if you hear your own scolding voice or an imitation of your comfort talk. He's going over everything that happened to him, which naturally includes what goes on in your family.

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