According to a report in The Independent, “nappies could have parenting advice printed on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often”. The proposal, raised by government-partnered The Behavioural Insights Team (see website – I’m sure they’re regular nappy-changers, one and all), is aimed at “nudging” (aka patronising) people into adopting better lifestyle choices. I have to say, I’m not convinced.
I understand the importance of parents talking to their babies. I understand, too, that the benefits of this aren’t always immediately obvious. You can spend hours chatting away to your child without the foggiest idea of whether anything’s sinking in (unless we’re talking about swear words and criticisms of family members – they’ll definitely remember those). It is good, to a certain extent, to be reminded that one’s hapless babbling is not in vain. Nonetheless, I have some serious misgivings about this overall plan. (more…)