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Study Shows Toddlers Correct Their Speech When Talking to Themselves

Watching your kid learn to talk is a road paved with fun milestones: Their first word, their first swear word, the first time you catch them talking to themselves. According to a new study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly the latter could be crucial in their development, rather than something they get from their mothers.

The research looked at 27 3- and 4-year-olds and distinguished between social speech and private speech, which can be loosely compared to you watching sports alone. In the case of the toddlers being studied, researchers were looking at what verbal corrections, or self-repairs, they made while completing a LEGO construction task, both with and without help from the experimenter. Although toddlers were more likely to make self-repairs across all speech categories with another person present, they also made corrections by themselves specifically related to the task at hand. This suggests that you kid might be capable of self-monitoring their speech just like you are, even if they aren’t as good at it yet.

Experts suspect that the speech content of such self-repairs can highlight developmental differences between individual kids. “A disconnection between private speech and task behavior has been observed in studies of children with self-regulation issues, such as ADHD,” Louis Manfra, who co-authored the study explained. Still, the small sample size means these findings are preliminary and more research needs to be done, so no need to eavesdrop on your kid playing LEGOs — at least any more than your already were. You’re not off the hook yet, but you likely don’t have correct your little Bob The Builder (or Bobbi) on every task either. They’re working on it.

[H/T] Science Daily