Put the screen down.
Turn taking is the foundation of conversation.
We know that children (and adults) learn language best from TURN TAKING interactions with a RESPONSIVE adult. Let me break down what that means.
When children cry, babble, gesture or speak and their trusted adults RESPONDS appropriately with eye contact, words or physical touch - this builds connections in a child's brain. We're essentially teaching them "when you communicate, I will communicate back and help you" - it's sometimes called 'serve and return'. Every time we do this, our child's brain develops more and as do their communication and social skills. When we serve and return (turn taking back and forth like a game of tennis) we're responding to what a child is saying/doing RIGHT NOW in the environment they're in. We know that children are more likely to learn language about things that they're interested in and when they feel safe and comfortable.
TV shows, apps and toys can not serve and return. They can serve - showing kids pictures and naming them etc. But they can not return when a child communicates. They also communicate with an agenda - teaching what they want in the moment but completely unrelated to a child's environment or what they may be showing interest in.
That's why a screen will NEVER be as powerful at teaching language as you can be.
Can a screen teach your child some new vocabulary - sure! My kids have learned all kinds of random things from TV shows. Screens aren't the devil. What I'm saying here is that you don't need to get caught up in a show or app or toy that claims to support your child's communication development when it'll never EVER be as powerful as your child just connecting with YOU!!
If you're not feeling super confident in your language teaching skills right now - let me help you. Head to the Zazi hub at zazi.co.nz and head to the language section - you'll find all of my posts about supporting language development in one easy place.
You've got this!
Watch the full reel here