In a recent article from the Journal Pediatrics, a study showed that talking with small children, not just to them, may be particularly important for healthy language development.
This study analyzed data from 275 families with children aged 2 to 48 months. For six months, children wore a device once a month for 12 hours that recorded surrounding speech and television sound for later analysis. Children's language capacity was assessed periodically using the Preschool Language Scale, Fourth Edition.
The researchers found that the number of conversational turns between children and adult caregivers is associated with higher language development scores.
This provides support to inform parents that they should continue to provide speech input to their children by talking to them, reading them books, and by telling them stories. But even more importantly, parents should be told that having a conversation with their child by eliciting talk from the child is even more beneficial to language development.