The following is a guest post by Dr. Jenn Berman, author of SuperBaby:
It has been shown that the sheer number of words spoken to a child is directly proportionate to the size of her vocabulary. However, this applies only to direct conversations you have with your child. The words she overhears from television, videos, radio, or other conversations do not count.
While the techniques recommended below were developed for children who are having trouble learning language, they are beneficial for any child. When using any of these methods, avoid seeming to correct your child’s language which can discourage language use.
Description: Model the correct word your child is trying to say without correcting her.
Example: Child says, “Baba!” while pointing to bottle. Dad then says, “Would you like your bottle?”
Description: Describe what you are doing, thinking, feeling, seeing, or hearing.
Example: “Now I am putting your dirty clothes into the hamper. I want to make sure they are clean for the next time you want to wear them.”
Technique: Parallel talk
Description: Describe what your child is doing.
Example: “Shayla is putting away her toys.”
Description: Develop a child’s utterance into a complete sentence, expanding on it without changing the order of the words or intended meaning.
Example: Child says, “Mommy eat.” Mom then says, “Yes, Mommy is eating lunch with Ashley.”
Description: Create a statement or question based upon the child’s statement while also adding new information or sharing correct pronunciation.
Example: Child says, “You shirt is lellow!” and then dad replies, “Yes, my shirt is yellow!”
Description: Add information to a topic your child has initiated without necessarily modeling a complete sentence.
Example: Child says, “Airplane!” then Mom says, “Big airplane high in the sky!”