Tickling your baby could help develop her language skills, new research has found
Experts have identified that tickling babies while speaking to them could help them to identify words because a baby’s sense of touch is closely linked to his or her language development.
The findings came from a study conducted by Purdue University’s Infant Speech Lab, which looked at 48 four-month-old babies. Each baby listened to a continuous stream of spoken words whilst sat on their parent’s lap. Each time a nonsense word was spoken, the experimenter touched the baby’s knee. The babies recognised this nonsense word when they heard it again.
A baby’s sense of touch is closely linked to his or her language development
The researchers conducted the same experiment again but touched their own eyebrow or chin instead of the babies knees. In this instance, the babies did not seem to recognise any of the words.
‘It didn't matter how much time the infant spent looking at the experimenter's face, they were not able to use these cues in the same way as they were when their own body was touched,’ says the study’s lead researcher Amanda Seidl, an associate professor of speech, language and hearing sciences at the university.
‘ need to find words before they can attach real meaning to their words,’ says Amanda. ‘Because names of body parts are often the first words that babies learn and touching is often involved when caregivers talk about body parts, we speculated that touch could act as a cue to word edges.’
Has your baby learnt any words yet? If so, share what they are in the comments box below.