Baby Talk: Resources to Support the People Who Work With Infants and Toddlers

Issue No. 19, December 2012

Early Experiences Matter Policy Toolkit

ZERO TO THREE has developed a set of tools for taking action and improving public policies that impact the lives of infants, toddlers, and their families. All of the materials in the toolkit are accessible online, and we encourage you to use them in your work and disseminate them widely. The Early Experiences Matter Policy Guide offers policy options and strategies to use to affect policy change for infants, toddlers, and their families. It includes mini policy briefs, practical tools, in-depth policy papers, and more. Go to this website to download the Policy Guide or access individual pieces of the toolkit.


Things That Make a Difference

Cuddling and closeness by a doting parent or parents in a child’s infancy may make for better-adjusted kids later on, new research suggests. The study found that infants who formed a close bond with even one parent were less likely to have emotional or behavioral problems when they reach school age compared to children who didn’t experience such relationships. Developing a special closeness with a parent appears to provide these benefits, with either the mother or father, according to the University of Iowa researchers. They said their findings provide further evidence about the influence that family members have at the earliest stages of a child’s mental and emotional development. The findings are especially good news for single mothers and stay-at-home fathers, two increasingly common types of parents in the United States.


Monkey See, Monkey Hear, Monkey Do?

Remember that old expression, “monkey see, monkey do?” Well, when it comes to babies, it’s “monkey see, monkey hear, and then monkey do.” That was the result of a study to determine “the power of language in infants’ ability to understand the intentions of others.” To find out what role language played in babies’ understanding, researchers took the interesting approach of showing a group of 14-month-old babies an unusual behavior: One researcher used her forehead to turn on a light. In that experiment, researchers then let the babies play with the light to see how they viewed the odd behavior. In a second experiment, one researcher announced what she was going to do with a novel phrase—”I’m going to blick the light”—as she used her forehead to turn on the light. The results? The babies imitated that researcher’s behavior once she named it, but did not do so when she did not name her actions, according to the university. The researchers found that “by 14 months, infants gain insight into the intentions of others by considering not only what we do but also what we say,” the study said.


13 Things Babies Learn When We Read With Them

We know it’s good to read to babies.  But what exactly are they learning? Some of the things a baby can learn as you read together are that books contain wonderful stories and songs that he hears over and over again and every time you read he can hear how words are used, listen to rich language, and learn new words.

Baby Talk is a free, one-way listserv that is distributed every other week. Each issue features one or more resources, the majority of which are available to download at no cost.  To join the listserv, send an email with no message to subscribe-babytalk@listserv.unc.eduTo suggest resources, please contact Camille Catlett at or (919) 966-6635.