A study has revealed that talking to your toddler for at least an hour a day dramatically increases their vocabulary and grammar development, which could make them smarter.

The research, part of the ‘Growing Up in Australia’ study, compared the amount of time parents spent talking to their child with the vocabulary complexity and use of grammar of more than 5,000 children under three years around the country.

Presenting the findings at Speech Pathology Australia’s National Conference in Hobart in late 2012, Dr Deborah James said the research demonstrates the importance of talking to young children during daily activities like bathing, feeding and playing.

“We found that children whose parents spent more than 16 minutes a day speaking with them had significantly more complex vocabulary,” Dr James said.

“We also found that children who received around an hour of parental talk every day used longer and more grammatically accurate sentences, for example saying ‘Don’t want you to read that book’ rather than ‘Don’t read book’.”

As these early vocabulary and grammar skills are linked with later social, emotional, literacy, numeracy and academic skills, this investment has the potential to equip them for social and academic success.