The first time I heard about the 2000 Words To Grow campaign, I thought it was a pretty daunting goal. 2000 words per hour seemed like a lot at the time, and I immediately reflected back on the hour’s visit I had with my nephew Charlie the previous evening. Was I doing enough to help him grow? He was only eight months at the time, so our “conversations” were pretty one-sided. Before panic set in, I counted the words in the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song that we sang about ten times in the hour (38 words), added up the words in his favourite books that I now know by heart, and after combining those figures, I felt I had probably reached close to that 2000 count in the hour. Phew.
Flash-forward seven months to current day. 2000 Words has been in the back of my mind when I spend time with my niece and nephew and friends’ kids, but there’s still that worry that I’m not hitting the mark. While playing with Charlie recently, I pulled out my phone and took a short video as I helped him navigate a tricky block puzzle. I wasn’t thinking about 2000 Words at the time, just that it was a cute moment to capture. It was a typical minute of play with a 15 month old: me giving him short instructions, repeating key words, praising him when he got it right and encouraging him through some struggles. Charlie responded with grins and grunts, and there were natural pauses in our exchange. Later that night as I watched it, it occurred to me to count the number of words I used in that minute of play: 70. After some quick math I realized that when interactions of that nature continue for an hour, I chalk up over 4000 words.
That was the moment I realized that this goal of 2000 Words To Grow so very achievable. We don’t need high-tech educational toys or intensive instruction to reach this target. It’s just about typical conversations, with as much of a focus on the interaction as on the activity. And if we can figure out that the blue triangle block goes in the blue triangle hole while we’re at it, that’s a bonus.
Submitted by Aunt Laurie (editor's note: Aunt Extraordinaire!)