How Can You Raise Successful Kids? See the Suggestion from Harvard and MIT

If you do this one thing by the time your kids are 4 years-old, they could end up healthier and wealthier.

By: Amanda Mushro
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143176157

A young math whiz smiles as he has solved the riddles of the universe.

Photo by: RichVintage

RichVintage

We all want our kids to be successful. Some days we just want them to put their shoes on the first time we ask but, mostly, our goal is to raise children who grow up to be successful adults. Researchers from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) may have the key to success and say there is one thing all parents need to do to help raise successful kids.

According to a study released by Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, having back-and-forth exchanges with your kids is one of the best things you can do for them. Parents should try opening a real dialogue with their children and letting them engage with you.

The universities found that parents who have these types of conversations with younger kids between 4 to 6 years-old have helped change their child’s brain. A back-and-forth conversation is critical to language and communication development, and parents play a key role in this.

“The important thing is not just to talk to your child, but to talk with your child,” lead author of the study, Rachel Romeo, told MIT News. “It’s not just about dumping language into your child’s brain, but to actually carry on a conversation with them.”

During the study, researchers recorded every word spoken or heard by each participating child for two days. The recordings were then analyzed by a computer program that looked for three different measurements: the number of words spoken by the child, the number of words spoken to the child and the number of times that the child and an adult had a back-and-forth conversation, which is also called a “conversational turn.”

What they found was that the number of back-and-forth conversations had by the child correlated strongly with their scores on standardized language tests. With regards to vocabulary, grammar and verbal reasoning, kids who had back-and-forth conversations with their parents scored higher on the tests.

Researchers believe these back-and-forth conversations not only give kids the opportunity to practice and develop their language skills but also help them understand other people better — which will lead to them being better communicators and more successful adults. So, when your kids want to tell you all about their favorite stuffed animal, indulge them!

If you’re wondering how to encourage these types of conversations with our kids, think about your daily activities. Ask your kids more questions and let them lead discussions. Kids have amazing imaginations, so utilize this by letting them help you make up stories before bedtime or allowing them to plan your family's weekend. Also consider meal time as an opportunity for your kids to open up. Even though they are little, children have a lot to say.

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