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Thursday, June 13, 2013

17,000 Words per day...

"An Adult Word Count (AWC) is the number of words a child hears from an adult within a specific period of time: 5 minutes, hourly, daily. Studies show an increase of Adult Word Count can lead to an increase in a child’s later language and academic success."

The magic number seems to be 17,000 words per day.  Are you serious, you say?!? Yes, I am!  It sounds impossible at first but believe it or not a parent normally speaks about 900 words per hour when their toddler is around.  But of course it's not like you're going to talk to your baby nonstop every waking hour.

So I broke it down a bit for myself to see how realistic this is (or not).

There are typically 12 waking hours in Madison's day which means that I need to speak a little over 1,400 words per hour which equates to about 24 words per minute! No way!

Instead of going "ham" trying to speak to Madison nonstop.  I've decided to be more aware of the opportunities I have available to speak to her and to not just make one statement and stop.  For instance, when making Madison's plate instead of just saying "I'm making your plate", I can further expand the conversation by describing everything that's going on.

"Madison are you ready to eat."
"Let mommy fix your plate."
"Do you want pancakes?"
"And strawberries?'
"With honey on top?"
"What about eggs?"
"Would you like those too?"
"I'm putting the pancakes on your plate."
"Here go the strawberries."
"They're so red!"
"Can you help me with the honey."
"You can taste it."
"Isn't it sweet."
"Look at those yellow eggs."
"Let me scoop some onto your plate."
"I need to grab your tray."
"Can you meet me at your chair."
"Let's go."
"Get into your chair."
"Do you need some help."
"Good job."
"Here you go."
"Let's say our grace!"

That's a little over 100 words and I typically say this in a five to 10 minute span (depending on whether or not she's helping me).  Seriously, I've literally been doing this lately.  It was a bit exhausting at first because I just wasn't use to explaining every little thing but it's definitely coming more naturally and easily.  It has also helped me realize how very little I was speaking to her before and I have to admit that it got me a little down for just a moment since a lack of this could be the reasoning behind her cognitive development (understanding of language) "delay".  But, I refuse to continue to dwell on it and simply do what's necessary to keep her moving forward.

Will I be able to get close to 17,000 words per day? I'm not so certain.  But I'll most certainly be giving it my best shot!

Source:  LENA

Have you ever heard about this...what are your thoughts?!?


"I am stumbling through my military life and in the process, discovering my place in the world."


  1. WOw! I had no idea that was even possible! That's a lot of words! Thanks for educating me! :)

    1. Me either until recently, Heather! It's quite interesting and I agree that it's definitely a LOT of words!

  2. I've thought about this, but more in the sense of making sure I don't speak to kids in a baby voice... or use baby language. I try to make surei can use words they can relate to but can also expand their language. My nephew is older do this applies me to his age range, but instead of saying funny I would say hilarious. He now uses this word regularly and knows it means funny. But you've also pointed out some good points too... speaking more to the child and bit at them. Great info!

    1. I totally agree about not using baby voice and language! Children are so eager to soak up knowledge (and are so capable of catching on) you just have to provide them with the information!

  3. 17,000 words a day??! Wow!! Just wait until Maddie is'll be talking way more, because she'll be asking way more questions!

    1. That's hilarious, Ashley! I keep telling Mario that we are not going to be able to get her to be quite when she's finally able to communicate well!

    2. oh yeah, Ashley just nailed it, those "but why?" questions will get you every time,'ll never hear the end of it!!! it'll be the conversation that never ends! but that's the cutest thing about 3 yr olds...they are so inquisitive and because of that, you know that they are soaking up so much!!!

  4. I'm with Ashley. Lol just you wait!

    1. I know it, Hattie! I'm not going to know what to do with myself once she starts talking!!!

  5. Wow so interesting. I have three children so is that 17000 words per child?! lol wooooow Welp better get busy with my kids. Thanks for sharing! I found you through Mommy Monday blog hop :) now following.

  6. And then they become teenagers and you'll be hard pressed to get two words from them! Nice to meet you, enjoy the rest of your week.

  7. That does sound like a lot of words. It was fun to read how you increased your word count. I am not sure how anyone would know if they were close to the target range, but increasing the conversation is good either way. I love the cute photo with the caption. : 0 ) Theresa (Capri + 3)

  8. This is great to know! I knew I needed to converse with J.R. often to help with language development but I never put the number of words per hour into perspective like this. Interesting!! It's so funny. I just learned we're the same age and I think our kids might be too! So cute! Will be giving this a more conscious effort for sure! <3

  9. I like the way you actually broke it down. I think it is easy for us to just do without explanation. I am guilty of this myself without our first daughter. Reading aloud often also helps increase exposure to new words. The Read Aloud Handbook is a pretty good book about reading.

  10. Hey Nicole,

    I never ever heard of this. However, I had heard that you are supposed to talk to your baby like a real person (rather than baby talk) to help develop language proficiency.

    So, that's what I do. I talk to my kids like they are real people. I'm with them all the time. Not sure if i say 17,000 words per se (as I don't count).

    My kids have excellent vocabulary and speak early - but I'm not sure if it has something to do with talking to them like a real person from birth - or just because that's the way they are. Anyway, I remember someone commenting a few years ago, that my oldest son talked like an adult.

    Not sure that's a good thing or a bad thing. I just looked at them like they were crazy - and walked away.

    Thank you so much for linking up with us at the Mommy Monday Blog Hop. Love having you as always!

  11. Hello. This is a fairly late reply, but I enjoyed your post. I studied Early Childhood Education and although I do not have children of my own, I have plenty in my family. Also, I work with youth and soon to be working with infants- 5 year olds. This is a great practice you talked about. Explaining everything to your child helps them not only hear more words, but helps them understand the process of what you're doing, why you're doing it, etc... I love that you are practicing this. Kudos to you and I hope you & your daughter have been having great conversations since this post. :)


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