Poor Kids Don't Talk So Good -- Are You Kidding Me?

Cynthia Dermody

Apparently, all those goofy things we do in front of our babies and toddlers -- flapping our arms to mimick flying and stretching our arms wide while singing "so big" -- really pay off in the end.

Children of parents who gesture a lot when they are babies and toddlers have a larger vocabulary when they start kindergarten.

But the linchpin in all this? Cold hard cash. Rich parents gesture more to their children as babies that lower-income parents do, which may explain the correlation between high socioeconomic status and good grades!

The researchers in this study went to the homes of 50 families of varying income levels who had 14 month olds. They videotaped for 90 minutes to count both parents' and childs' words and gestures with specific meanings.

Higher income parents did gesture more, and their children on average produced 25 meanings in gesture during that 90-minute session. They also talked more, and with more varied vocabulary and syntax, which undoubtely makes a huge difference, too.

When these kids entered kindergarten, they had a richer vocabulary than children who weren't gestered to a lot as babies.

Yeah, that part makes total sense.  Gestures = meaning = words. No need to spend billions on a study to learn that!

What I find way more interesting is how they explain this away ... that rich parents gesture MORE than poor parents. I can't think of a single reason why that could be. Do rich arms work better than poor arms because they are in better shape, constantly building muscle from counting all that money?

Other moms from my MOMS UNCENSORED group agree with me:

"I'm a talking with my hands, gesturing fool around here," says Ellen523. ''Maybe higher income kids go to snazzy daycares or very well-paid nannies. Most kids I know in daycare seem more talkative. I'm sure that has to do with all of the social interaction though." 

Maybe higher income kids go to snazzy daycares or very well paid nannies.  Most kids I know in daycare seem more talkative.  I'm sure that has to do with all of the social interaction though.  I think kids are all unique and they are right on time for them. 

"We are considered a low income family, and my DD has a wider vocabulary than most kids her age according to her pediatrician," missamanda86 says. "No, she can't fully form sentences, but she can talk. And in school, it seemed to me that the poor families talked to thier kids more, and interacted more with them because they didnt have a full extra curricular schedule."

These researchers need to get a clue. We are so much smarter. Let's debunk this theory right here and now.

1. Would you consider yourself to have money or not to have money?

2. Do you gesture a lot or just a little to your baby or toddler?

Tell me in comments and let's get to the bottom of it. Thanks. This is so much better than cleaning up the kitchen.

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