Urban Sky Trust

Parent Strategy #10

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Parent Strategy #10

Where you lead I will Follow (Following your child’s lead)


The language adults are using with children has to match what the child is thinking. If a parent is talking about the flowers and butterflies and cool green grass on a lovely Spring day, but the child has a boo-boo on their finger that has consumed their attention, then that parents language truly is ``falling on deaf ears` . Parents should talk about what the child’s attention is focused on, rather than trying to shift attention to what interests the adult.


Early in the communicative process, it is difficult for a child to shift their attention to what the parent desires. Parents have to do the shifting… following the child’s lead until the child has become advanced enough to follow adults.


In the meanwhile, remember language is everywhere!! Language about a boo-boo on the finger is as important as the language of butterflies.




EXAGGERATING SUPRASEGMANTALS- using more exaggerated intonation patterns and slightly higher frequencies, greater pitch variations. Uh oh!


RECASTING- phrasing sentences in different ways, such as making it a question. (dada bye-bye) daddy…Is daddy going bye bye?


ECHOING- Repeating what the child said


EXPANSION- Restating what the child said in a more linguistically sophisticated form (``ball gone`) ``Yes, we lost the ball`.


LABELING- Providing the name of objects, using simplified vocabulary.


OVERARTICULATING- Using more precise sounds contained in the words, stretching out sounds, sounding out ``super-vowels`…examples: ee/ah/oo.


There is a ``Automaticity in Parentese`………………Ellen A. Rhoades, Ed.S.

  • Use short, simple sentences that are melodic
  • Talk about what child is focused on or is doing
  • Repeat what you say and what your child says
  • Pause between words
  • Use many questions and commands
  • Speak more slowly


There are modifications in the linguistic and prosodic aspects of maternal language with preverbal infants


(Good caregivers spend much time in face-to-face interaction)


Seminal Researchers: Catherine Snow, Patricia Kuhl