Head Start: Tips for Parents from I-LABS Research

A list of brain-building tips parents can use to engage their infants is now available on the National Head Start Association's website.

The top two tips are based on I-LABS research:

Tip #1, "Learn to Look!," cites I-LABS findings of how a social behavior called "gaze following" in infants helps them learn language. Learn more about gaze following as a building block in child development in an I-LABS news story.

Tip #2, "Learn to Chat and Babble!," encourages parents to use the sing-song speech style "parentese" as a way to build language growth. A 2014 I-LABS study revealed that the more parentese babies heard, the more they babbled and then later, when they were toddlers, the more words they knew.

The tips are part of a partnership between Head Start and Vroom, a national campaign to help parents use everyday interactions to build their infants' brains.

“Parents are children’s first and most important teachers," said Sarah Lytle, I-LABS Director of Outreach and Education, “and it is part of our mission at I-LABS to make the most recent research accessible to them. Caregivers are the key to preparing children for a lifetime of learning”

For additional science-based resources for parents, check out the I-LABS training modules. The free online tools are designed for caregivers and other early learning educators and cover topics in early brain development, language learning and social and emotional development.

The I-LABS Outreach team created the training modules with I-LABS co-directors Patricia Kuhl and Andrew Meltzoff.