Author: Tina Donvito
Research reveals a new reason to get off your phone when you're around your baby.
While playing with your baby is a joyful experience, it can also be a tedious one. Turns out, it's easy for your mind to wander while your child plays, which makes it all too tempting to pull out your phone. We've all done it. But science has found a reason to leave your phone where it is and focus on your child.
A 2016 study published in the journal Current Biology shows that how long parents pay attention directly affects an infant's own attention span. In the study, researchers used high-tech eye tracking to record info from 36 parents and their one-year-old babies. They tested the length of the babies' attention span on an object when the parents were also looking at it, and when they weren't.
"If parents join their child's attention on a toy object, children are more likely to show longer attention on the target object compared with cases in which parents don't show any attention or interest," says study author Chen Yu, Ph.D., of Indiana University, Bloomington. Even more importantly, the longer the parents jointly showed attention, the longer babies continued to look at the toy even after the parents had turned away.
This means that parents have a direct influence on the babies' developing attention span—an important new finding.
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