Conversation overheard in Target ( Toddler and Mother on the next aisle)

Toddler: “Mommy, I heavy!”  “Mommy, I heavy!”
Mother: “Are you saying you are heavy?”

Toddler: “No, I heavy.”

Mother: “Is that can heavy?”

Toddler: “Yes. Mommy I heavy.”

Mother: “Oh, the can is heavy. Are you saying you are strong?”

Toddler:”Yes, I heavy.”

Mother: “Yes, the can is heavy and you are very strong!”

Toddler: “I want that.”

Mother: ” Do you want the hot dog buns?”

Toddler: “Bums, bums, bums”

Mother:” Do you want the hot dog bunnnns?”

Toddler: ” Yes, Mommy- bunnnnnnnnnnnnnns!”

Mother: “We need hot dogs to go with those buns!”

Toddler: “No, I want bunnnnns!”


According to Dr. Kathy, Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University Lefkowitz Professor of Psychology and Director, Infant Language Laboratory the research shows that we should:

Talk with infants, but let them drive the conversation.
Infants and toddlers build their language and learning through interactive, responsive and meaningful environments. The amount of language babies hear alone will not breed language learning or later literacy. What counts is responsive language where caregivers are:
• Talking with not talking at
• Expanding on what the child says and does
• Noticing what the child finds interesting and commenting
Adults who take turns in interactions with young children, share periods of joint focus, and express positive emotion provide children with the foundation needed to facilitate their language and mental growth. Stimulating and responsive parenting in early childhood are considered the strongest predictors of children’s later language, cognitive and social skills.



I recently read an article in Scientific American Mind, May/June 2012 about language development in young children.  Did you know that to tune their speech, young toddlers rely on different feedback than adults?  As adults, we subconsciously listen to our own voice to tune pitch, volume, and pronunciation. Young children just learning to talk do not.  Research has found that they do not begin to listen to their own voice until they are much older, instead relying on the adult to give them feedback.  The real take home message from this research is that “social interaction is important for the development of speech.” (Ewen MacDonald 2011)  You can read the article below.