Did you know that asking your child too many questions can make them feel like they are in an interview? We understand that asking questions can feel rewarding for parents because you get to hear the words your child knows. Unfortunately, peppering kids with too many questions puts so much pressure on them that it may actually decrease the amount of language that they use with you. Instead, try the 3:1 approach to comments and questions to help your child increase language.

The 3:1 Approach to Comments and Questions

If you find yourself asking too many questions in play or while reading books, try using the 3:1 approach to increase comments and rely less on asking questions.

When playing or reading with your child, make three comments for every one question asked. This will help expand their language skills and motivate them to use more language!

The 3:1 approach provides a way to think about how we model language about an object. It also reduces the demands for your child to provide answers. Just think about how exhausting it is for you to answer multiple questions in a row as well! No one likes the feeling of being peppered with questions.

By asking fewer questions in play, this will give your child more opportunities to use language all on their own!

Using Comments During Play

Here’s an example of how to use the 3:1 approach during play with a dollhouse:

1. “Wow, look at the house!”
2. “Let’s open the door.”
3. “There’s a girl inside!”
4. “What color is her dress?”

By adding more comments and reducing questions you will find your child will want to play with you more and will use more language independently. Have fun playing!

At MeBe, our Speech and Language Therapy team works with your family to make communicating verbally and nonverbally a positive experience, so your child can find their unique voice and make themselves understood. Contact us to learn more about Speech and Language Therapy at MeBe.

For helpful tips from our Speech Language Pathology team and to see examples of using the 3:1 approach to comments and questions to help your child increase language, check out @mebefamily on Instagram and Facebook and visit the MeBe Family YouTube channel.