A new campaign from the early childhood initiative Too Small To Fail is using clever T-shirts to encourage parents to teach their young children new words by conversing more with them.
The cute kid-sized shirts list conversation topics that parents can use when chatting with their children. The campaign is designed to address the so-called "word gap" that exists between children from low-income families and those from more affluent families. According to research, affluent children have heard 30 million more words by age 3 than children from low-income families.
"One of the things that families told us is that they know they should be talking, reading and singing," Susan True of the Bay Area Council, an organization that collaborated on the campaign with Too Small To Fail, said in a promotional video for the campaign (above). "We also know that families are so overwhelmed that telling them what they should do is probably not that helpful."
True goes on to say, "So we thought, 'What about every time you put a T-shirt on a child, every time you take a bath, every time you put the child to bed, these are all times that families could take advantage of building their young child's brain."
The organization, which is based in Oakland, California, has even put up billboards that remind parents of ways they can talk to their child while sitting in traffic. Local hospitals and clinics have also agreed to distribute the clothing.
Too Small To Fail was launched last June by Hillary Clinton, in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, a policy and communications organization.
"Our country's future depends on healthy kids and loving families. They're the building blocks of a strong and prosperous society," Clinton said last year in a video describing the initiative, according to The Associated Press.