Hooray! Your child is beginning to communicate with 1-2 words! Now, how can we start expanding their early language attempts?
As exciting as those first words and word combinations are, they have limitations. As parents, we make assumptions about the meaning of what our children are saying, often based on the situation. For example, moms know it’s more likely that “doggy eat” is a comment, but grammatically it sounds more like a command.
By using the technique of expanding, we can demonstrate a more mature language structure.
“Yes, the doggy is eating.”
Key characteristics of expanding are:
- the order of the words are maintained
- the adult “corrects” the sentence, but doesn’t make a judgment on the initial attempt or request another try
Often children attempt to imitate the new, expanded version and while it may not be completely accurate, it’s usually closer than their first try.
Expanding early language attempts plays three roles:
- It allows our child to choose the topic (and who isn’t more interested in their own topic?!).
- It gives children a grammatically correct model (which seems to help most with plurals and present tense verb endings).
- It keeps the topic and conversation going! By providing a model to imitate, it encourages your little one to take another conversational turn.
Research shows that parents who use a more natural, conversational approach, rather than a “teaching” style, are more likely to have children who learn language more quickly.
Do you have an early talker? I can show you how to build a language-rich environment that supports their blossoming skills!