Various studies show that early language acquisition plays a major role in setting the stage for a child’s future achievement course.
By the age of 24 months, one can already gauge by the size of the child’s vocabulary, how smoothly the child’s cognitive development will unfold and whether the child may face a challenging learning and growth trajectory. As early as 18 months of age, a lag may already become apparent between children of the same age in terms of their information processing capacities. From there – the gap either grows or remains proportionately consistent. How well the child’s processing skills and vocabulary are established as babies and toddlers, in turn plays a detrimental role in whether or not the child will reach its full potential at adulthood.
What causes a child’s processing skills and acquired vocabulary to be underdeveloped? The direct answer would be: How much a child is being talked to and the range of vocabulary used when being talked to. However, the condition that rules this variable (how much one is being talked to and what range of words) is the socio-economic environment that the child finds itself within.
Parents from mid to higher levels of socioeconomic status generally have more time to spend with their children and they themselves possess a richer vocabulary than parents of lower socioeconomic status.
Parents coming from a lower economic status may be working several jobs to make ends meet and have a more limited vocabulary. Having to cope with more stress and anxiety due to every day struggles can lead one to be more taciturn. All of this adds up to less words from a limited range being spoken towards the child(ren).
Besides being externally disadvantaged due to lower economic status limiting future opportunities, children are also internally disadvantaged in how well they will be able to exploit the opportunities that will be available to them because of stunted vocabulary acquisition and cognitive skills.
“By 2 years of age, these disparities are equivalent to a six-month gap between infants from rich and poor families in both language processing skills and vocabulary knowledge,” Fernald said. “What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a developmental cascade, a growing disparity between kids that has enormous implications for their later educational success and career opportunities.”
As discussed in other blogs (Living Income Guaranteed and Raising Children, The Self-Perpetuating Cycle of Homelessness and Living Income Guaranteed), the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed will provide an opportunity for parents to stay at home and take care of their children, or have financial security knowing that any job would at least provide an income at double the Living Income rate.
In fact, a survey polling to find out how many mothers would want to stay at home ‘if money was not an object’, shows that 75% of new mothers would want to stay at home, 12% would not want to be a full-time mother and 13% did not know what they would do. Of those mother who did go back to work, just over half indicated that the reason for doing so was because money was tight, and 3% indicated that they had to go back because pregnancy had left them in serious debt.
With the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed we can raise the conditions necessary to stimulate, enhance and foster our children’s development and utmost potential. By creating a financially stable environment, parents are able to tend to both a child’s physical and mental needs to ensure optimal growth and well-being. Financial worries put aside with a Living Income safety net, promotes peace of mind for parents which leads to better parent-child relationships and reducing the incidence of conflict at home .
By having this foundation in place, we set the stage for success in our children’s education and future careers.
For more information on what the Living Income Guaranteed entails, read the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal.
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