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HHS HealthBeat (March 6, 2014)

Shy toddlers understand

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Toddling and talking go together. But not always – shy toddlers may not speak as much, and some research has indicated they were not developing language as fast as more outgoing kids.

However, Ashley Smith Watts of the University of Colorado says shy kids may know more than they’re saying. She bases this on data on 816 kids.

“Children who were inhibited in their behavior tend to speak less, but understand what is being said as well as their less-shy peers.”

Smith Watts says helping the kids feel confident about talking, and social activity like more play dates, might help shy toddlers break the language ice.

The study in the journal Child Development was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: March 6, 2014