People are the key to children’s early development. Children can learn by individual exploration or observation, but there’s no substitute for human interaction! Babies learn best during face-to-face interactions.

For example, researchers found that interaction style affects how 9-month-olds learn sounds from foreign languages. Babies learned foreign sounds from a live interaction. But they did not learn the sounds from watching a video. Are you surprised by these results? Why do you think children learned from a live interaction but not through video?

One possibility is that face-to-face interactions allow turn taking. Adults can respond in real time to what the child is doing or saying. They might look where a child is looking, or label a new object. But when a child watches a video, the person on the screen cannot react to the child’s behavior or provide the same social cues that a live person can.