“Parentese” is backed by science
Narrate Your Day:
Put in in practice: More examples of what this actually looks like at home
Thirty million sounds unfathomable, but, in reality, you get there one word at a time. Here are some examples that any parent can do to develop a rich language environment at home. As Suskind explains in the book, “Every routine and activity can be an opportunity for brain building and language.”
Getting dressed — and counting
- Tune In: A parent notices that a toddler wants to help dress himself dressed in the morning because he’s trying to pull away and do his own snaps.
- Talk More: “Your romper has five snaps. Can you help Mommy count them? One, two, three, four, five. Five snaps to snap and you’ll be ready to go with me to the park!”
- Take Turns: Follow up your comment with, “would you like to help me do the snaps?” or “What are you excited to play with at the park?”
Playing dress-up — and learning about size and scale
- Tune In: A child walks around the living room wearing his father’s shoes.
- Talk More: “You’re wearing Daddy’s shoes. They sure are big on you! Dad has big feet so he needs big shoes. Look at the difference in Dad’s feet compared to yours. Yours are much smaller.”
- Take Turns: “Whose shoes are bigger? Dad’s or yours? Right! Dad’s shoes are much bigger than yours. But your feet are growing. That’s why we needed to buy you new shoes last week. Your old shoes were squeezing your toes. They were much too small.”
Helping mom with a problem — and learning emotional self-regulation and problem-solving
- Tune In: Mom is headed out the door but just realized she can’t find her keys. Mom explains without sounding annoyed or stressed.
- Talk More: “I don’t believe I lost my keys again. This is the third time this week I’ve misplaced them. I’m really upset with myself. I’m going to be late for work. Can you help Mommy look for her keys?”
- Take Turns: “Do you see the keys under the table? That was good thinking to look there because Mommy sometimes leaves her keys on top. They could have fallen. Should we look on the kitchen counter too?”