Baby Gestures Linked to Vocabulary, Income

Filed under: Research Reveals: Babies

As if you need another reason to keep your income high and home filled with stuff, here's a study that says the more money you have, the better vocabulary your child will have, too.

The reasoning is fairly simple: Scientists at the University of Chicago surmise that kids from more privileged households might live in homes with more objects, such as home furnishings and toys. Therefore, their environment provides more opportunities for gesturing.

The level of gesturing at 14 months is linked to the vocabulary level at 4.5 years. The more gesturing, the more communication. In fact, babies start gesturing before they speak.

"The children who are gesturing about more things in their environment have larger vocabularies later," said study author Meredith L. Rowe. "And we see that children from higher socioeconomic levels are gesturing more."

That said, this doesn't necessarily mean that kids in less privileged families gesture less and grow up with limited vocabularies. Nor is every baby destined to follow the general patterns found by researchers. However, this is a great excuse to buy that new Emma Gardner Design throw (for you) -- and Recycled Soft Gorilla Plush doll (for him) -- you've been eyeing.

"Look at the patterns, honey," you can point. "See all the colors? That's blue. Say blue."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.