Talk it up!
More than a decade ago, the research team of Betty Hart and Todd Risley (Meaningful Differences, 1995) carefully recorded the conversations of parents and their very young children over a period of two and a half years. Later they looked at the children’s spoken vocabularies and school-related outcomes. There was an unmistakable positive correlation between quantity and quality of parent-child conversations and outcomes. What makes a quality conversation? Varying vocabulary, actively listening and responding to your child, adding new information to the conversation, giving children choices, telling children about things and talking about what to expect and how to cope with situations all add to the quality and richness of the conversation. So the big message is—keep talking!