A project of the Child Trends News Service supported by the National Science Foundation

Tips to Boost Your Baby’s Vocabulary

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Even before babies speak their first words, they are gaining language skills. Here are some details about a particular way parents can speak to babies that can help boost their language skills.

Researchers from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences recorded 77 pairs of babies and parents as they spoke to their six-, then 10-, and finally 14-month-old babies. They found parents who used “parentese”—higher pitch, slower tempo, and exaggerated vowels and words—had babies who babbled more at six months compared to babies whose parents didn’t speak that way. Researchers coached parents and gave them linguistic feedback at the six- and 10-month mark.

The researchers measured again at 14 months and found the parents who received the coaching increased the amount of parentese spoken by 15 percent. They also had babies with a larger vocabulary. So parents—use parentese to engage with your infant during everyday moments, like feedings and playtime. You could be building your child’s vocabulary one word at a time.

Researchers found that social economic status was not a factor. In other words, the coaching tips worked across a range of socioeconomic status backgrounds.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

Original research: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/desc.12762

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