Parental Responsiveness and Scaffolding of Language Development

Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Lisa Baumwell & Yana Kuchirko

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Parental Responsiveness and Scaffolding of Language Development

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  • Sensitive parenting is foundational to children's learning and development. Although definitions vary from study to study, a central feature of parental sensitivity is responsiveness, which refers to parents' prompt, appropriate, and contingent replies to children's exploratory and communicative initiatives.

    Responsiveness has been at the foreground of research, practice, and policy for two main reasons. First, responsiveness is a common characteristic of parenting around the world: It represents the universal, three-term sequence in everyday interactions of child act, parent reply, and effect on child. Indeed, parents from cultural communities around the globe—ranging from the Cameroon Nso to urban professionals in New York City—respond contingently to their infants' actions, although they are often found to vary in how often they respond to particular behaviors in infants (for example, ...

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