How many words a child hears varies on how he or she is spoken to, and the number might affect his or her language skills in the future. Parents who have higher incomes might speak more words to their children than parents who earn lower incomes. Research has found that by the time they are 3 years old, children of professionals have heard 50% more words than children of working-class parents, on average, and at least three times more than the children of parents on welfare. It is thought that parents who have greater financial means have more time and resources to spend on their children. Lower-income parents might be working multiple jobs to make ends meet, giving them less time to spend with their children and higher stress levels that might reduce the number of words they say to their children.
More about how many words a child hears:
- Children from welfare families hear an average of 10 million words by age 3, and professional parents’ children hear about 30 million words.
- Research has shown that the more words a child hears by age 3, the more likely he or she is to perform better academically during primary school ages.
- Hearing an average of 30,000 words a day from birth to age 3 is thought to be a predictor of academic achievement in school.