The supermarket, we moms all know, is one of the best places to teach your kids words. They’re trapped in a shopping cart shaped like a little car, and you’re trying to distract them from the Froot Loops. So you point to the apples and say “apple.” And then you point to the milk and say, “milk.” Like all good mommies do.
Except you’re wasting your time.
PsychCentral reported today on a new study that shows that young children rely less on words or labels to categorize items than adults do. As a result, they learn about the world in other ways — ways that perhaps mean you can stop pointing out the bananas in that sing-songy mommy voice and get the stinkin’ shopping done.
The Ohio State University study involved preschoolers and adults, all of whom were asked to classify objects called “flurps” and “jalets” for the sake of the study.
The adults mostly relied on words to classify the objects, while the preschoolers appeared to rely on more than just language. The result, says study author Valdimir Sloutsky, is that “we really need to do more than just label things.”
“If saying something is a dog does not communicate what it is any more than saying it is brown, then labeling it is necessary but by no means sufficient for a child to understand,” says Sloutsky.
What the flurp?
So now the running dialogue up and down the bread aisle isn’t enough? All those hours of “See the green broccoli? That is broccoli” were insufficient?
And yet, my children are now teenagers and can successfully identify most everything in the supermarket, especially when they want me to buy it because they are hungry every 10 minutes.
So now moms need a Powerpoint presentation with sound and motion to teach our kids words while we wait for the nice deli lady to give us free slices of cheese?
To this, the most recent scientific study that makes moms feel inadequate, I have one thing to say: Flurp off.