Responsive Parenting in the Second Year: Specific Influences on Children's Language and Play

Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Marc H. Bornstein, Lisa Baumwell, Amy Melstein Damast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In two longitudinal studies, relations between dimensions of maternal responsiveness at 13 months and children's language and play abilities at 13 and at 20 months were examined. We characterized mothers' responsive exchanges by assessing the targets of maternal responses (i.e. what child activities mothers respond to) and the verbal contents of maternal responses (i.e. what mothers said when they responded), and we asked whether subtypes of responsiveness would relate differentially to children's language and play abilities. In general, maternal responsiveness to children's vocalizations predicted children's language, and maternal responses to children's play predicted children's play. These findings suggest that maternal responsiveness can be profitably categorized into subtypes that relate to domains of child outcomes in specialized ways. The specific nature of mother-child associations in the domains of early language and play is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
JournalInfant and Child Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • Language
  • Maternal responsiveness
  • Play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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