Welcome to the Babble Buddies Project!

We are very excited to share our research project ‘Babble Buddies’ with you. We are currently looking for new participants – so if you have a 4-year-old child and would like to be part of an exciting research project, we would love for you to contact us through our Sign Up page!

From Baby Babble to Babble Buddies

How It All Began
This project started out as the ‘Baby Babble’ project, in which we followed mothers and children from when the children were 3 months old until their second birthday. We were able to do this both in the York area in the UK and in the Masindi district in Uganda and were incredibly lucky in that we found an amazing group of mothers and infants in both of these communities. We are very grateful for their participation and support over the years!

The ‘Baby Babble’ project aimed at learning more about how infants start child-3046494_1920 to communicate and understand their social world in the first two years of life. We were especially interested in how they develop the ability to share attention about objects and events with others. Sharing attention starts in the first year of life, but we know very little about how this ability emerges in different cultures, or what conditions make it easy for it to develop in infants. Our project aimed to answer these questions by examining the social development of infants in the UK and in Uganda.

Ugandan mother1By following the same infants over two years we were able to gain a unique, in depth insight into how mothers and infants communicate and interact.We are still analysing most of the data that we hav collected but we are happy to share some of our Preliminary Findings with you. Once we have had a chance to further analyse our data, we hope to be able to see how individual variation in communication and sharing attention in the first two years of life might predict other aspects of communication and social development in early childhood.

We Couldn’t Say Goodbye Just Yet
We originally planned to only visit our families when the infants were 3-24 months old, but we got such great data and could see such potential for answering more exciting scientific questions by following the children until they were a little older, we asked participating families if they wished to join our extension project ‘Babble Buddies’. We were delighted that nearly all families decided to join and are very grateful to the flexibility both parents and children have shown to accommodate us collecting data via online methods through covid-19. Most of our longitudinal participants are now between 4 and 5 years old and many of our UK have completed their final visit with us. Our two PhD students, Charlotte and Sophie, are currently collecting data in Uganda and are very much enjoying seeing our Ugandan families again.

What Comes Next?
pexels-cottonbro-studio-4715320Even though we are slowly finishing up data collection with the families who have been part of the study for the past five years, we are nowhere near finished with our project! We would like to increase the number of participants that we have at our 4.5 year time point, which will give us more power to ask exciting scientific questions about child development at this age. Therefore, we are looking for 4.5-year-old children and their mothers who would like to contribute to our project.

New Participants Wanted

Would you like to help with the Babble Buddies Project?
We are looking for participants living in the York area who would like to take part in a fun study on child development. We are specifically looking for children who will be 4.5 years old between November 2022 and May 2023.

What would be involved?
PhotoForParticipantRecruitment_Taken20221112_8We would like to visit you in your home on two occasions for two hours each time. During the visits, we would come and play a fun set of short games with you and your child. You would also answer a few online questionnaires about your child, your family and your community.
The games that we would like to play with your child are designed to look at children’s helping and sharing behaviours, as well as their understanding of rules and ability to work with others. We can give you an overview of the types of games and tasks involved if you contact us at babybabble@york.ac.uk.
We can flexibly arrange visits to suit the individual routine and needs of each family. We are happy to visit you during the week, after school, at weekends and during school holidays.

What would you get from participating?
You would be well compensated for your time and receive £10/hour for visits. Your child can win tokens during the games which they can exchange for rewards at the end of the visit. Moreover, you would also be making a valuable contribution to the project and cutting-edge science!

If you would like to participate in the Babble Buddies study or just find out more about the project:

Quotes from Current and Previous Participants

“We have found the Baby Babble Project very fun and engaging – it has been fascinating (and sometimes very surprising) learning more about our child as he grows. We are proud to be involved and to be helping further research in this important area.”

Baby babble have been a part of my family’s life for over 2 years; witnessing my daughter develop from a tiny baby to a talkative cheeky toddler. My daughter loves visits from the baby babble team, the visits are always fun, engaging and bring a smile to her face. The baby babble team always keep us up to date with the latest finding within the research which is simply wonderful. We love being a part of the research project.”

“My daughter and I have really enjoyed taking part in the Baby Babble project. We’ve had regular visits from the very friendly team over the last 3 years. My daughter has had a few interesting challenges and I’ve noticed things about her learning and understanding which I may not have noticed otherwise. We have played some interesting games and my daughter’s always keen to see the Baby Babble people, as they’re always so warm and considerate. And the extra money is very nice too. I would recommend you take part!”

“It has been fascinating to see how my daughter has engaged with and responded to the activities in the Baby Babble project. We have been taking part since she was 3 months and she is now 3 and a half! It’s a great way to see her development, and also know you are contributing to a bank of knowledge about child development too!”

“It has been a pleasure to be involved in the Baby Babble project for the last 3 years. With each visit we have become more aware of the developmental changes in our little boy as he begins to master new tasks. The Babble Buddies team are very considerate and are happy for the pace of activities to be child-led, with breaks (e.g. for snacks) whenever they are needed. The outputs from the project have been extremely interesting and we loved receiving a video montage of the footage from the visits on his 2nd birthday.”

“Being involved in Babble Buddies since my son was a little baby has been a totally fascinating and rewarding experience for us both. The games we play with the team are always engaging and fun and have provided me with a bit of an insight as to how different aspects of my son’s communication and social development might have progressed. I thought I might not have enjoyed being filmed at first, but everyone has always made us feel so relaxed and by the time we get stuck into the different tasks, I just forget about the camera! My son always has a big smile on his face for the team as they’ve given him lots of positive attention and helped him feel relaxed and happy when doing any of the project games.”

“The Baby Babble project has been so interesting to partake in over the last 3 years and it’s been a pleasure to work with them. The team have always been polite, friendly and calming, especially when visiting us at home. It has been fascinating to watch and share the development of our daughter with Baby Babble and I hope our studies and experiments have been useful to the project. The added bonus of a few pounds to add to our daughter’s money box from time to time is a nice reward.

“I have found being part of the project an incredibly valuable experience – I’ve learnt things about my son that have surprised me (in a very positive way!) – words I didn’t know he knew and stages of development that I hadn’t realised he had reached. The team is professional, supportive and always willing to be flexible with dates/times of visits. My son (and me!) always look forward to the visits, and it’s also hugely rewarding to know that we are contributing to such an important and interesting study. I highly recommend getting involved.”