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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Essay on Parent Child Interaction and Language Development

Essay on Parent-Child Interaction and Language Development
            Parents play an important role in the language development of their children. In fact, numerous scholars suggest that parent-child relationship is the most crucial element which could develop children’s linguistic skills.

 According to a recent study, children learn to acquire language during the first three years of his or her life. More than this, they learn a specific language or dialect from the people that surrounds them. From infancy, parents provide a language model for the baby which then encourages them to create sounds. Babbling for instance, is the earliest stage of language acquisition. During this period, the child attempts to create and utter sounds. As such, babbling sounds such as “ma-ma” or “da-da” can be reinforced by the caregiver or parent through reactions and feedbacks. The reinforcement then allows infants to focus their attention on the specific sound; thus, enabling them to utter recognizable words like “mommy” or “daddy”. This then suggests that children are active participants in language acquisition and learning. Through reinforcement a simple babble can lead to more advanced communication which includes both productive and receptive language (Vernon, 2008, p. 216).

The importance of parent interaction with child’s language development is further emphasised in a research about the relationship of language development and parent participation. The study, which includes 70 young children with ages three, four, and five, were subjected to daily parent-child interaction during activities like meal time and play time. Similarly, parents were asked to read books to their children while inserting some conversations throughout the activity. Findings suggest that a child’s environment correlates to their later language skills. This means that children who were exposed to parent interaction tend to have a wider vocabulary as well as an overall enhanced language skill. Similarly, results suggest that child-parent interactions allow children to develop basic rules of language such as syntax or grammar, semantics, and phonology (Dickenson & Tabors, 2001, p. 409). 

Another study share parallel results. The research which was published in 2008 suggests that children, at a very young age are highly influenced by their mother’s verbal interaction with them. The findings show that mothers, regardless of their educational attainment, stimulate children to speak and ultimately develop their vocabulary. In fact, the interaction of the parent allows the child, not only to learn how to speak but also to use sophisticated reasoning to understand their surroundings (Vernon, 2008, p. 216).

In a different study which involves 32 families with children from 18 months to five years also showed the role of parents in a child’s language development. In the research, parents were asked to use every opportunity to prompt their children in saying or uttering a new word. The data was collected using questionnaires, audio-recording, and interviews with the parents. Findings suggest that parents who used prompted and taught their children to learn a new word allowed children to produce “a lot of language”. This therefore shows that parents play a significant role in nurturing a child acquire and develop language in general (Mushi, 2000, p.1).

Based on the points provided, it can be suggested that parents indeed, play an important role in a child’s language development. Hence, parents must ensure that they provide their child with a responsive and positive environment as it could help the child not only in linguistic skills but it will ultimately help the child achieve his or her full potential.

Dikenson, D. & Tabors, P. (2001). Beginning Literacy with Language. NY: Brookes Publishing
Mushi, S. (2000). Parents’ Role in their Children’s Language Acquisition.  ERIC. Retrieved 10
July 2013, from
Vernon, L. (2008). “Talking to Children”. The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,
29, 213-226

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