This review explores challenges and barriers to parent–child interaction which leads to language development in the first 3 years of the child's life. Seven databases yielded 1,750 hits, reduced to 49 evidence-based studies, many of which still had methodological imperfections. Evidence was quite strong in relation to socio-economic status, ethnicity and mental health, but weaker in relation to parental age and bilingualism. These factors pertain to the general demographic characteristics of parents, rather than their behavior. If parental behavior can be enhanced, better child language should follow, irrespective of these characteristics. This is an important lesson for professionals dealing with parents. Evidence was also weak in relation to television and the direction of baby buggies. These are areas where changes in parental behavior would make an immediate impact. Cost-effectiveness of interventions is extremely important and was reviewed. Recommendations for future research are followed by suggestions for parental action.
- Language development