Easily expand your child's vocabulary and sentence length with our Repeat-Expand-Repeat technique. It is easy to do, and with a little practice, it will be second nature for you. The scripts below will give an idea on how to accomplish this task. 

The beauty of using this technique during meals is that we eat many times a day. Once you get the hang of it, you will be using it daily without even thinking about it. Yeah!

Language Milestones Targeted

Expressive Language

Receptive Language

  • Uses about 200-300 words consistently 
  • Speaks with 3+ word phrases 
  • Uses words to get attention 
  • Understands 500 words 

Lunch Directions

What You Need:  Lunch, Yourself, Your Child

How To Play: There are a few ways to use Repeat-Expand-Repeat technique during lunch or any meal for that matter. How you play will depend on your child's current language ability. Remember to match your child's language and then expand it by a few words.

To begin this game, start your lunch routine as usual. When your child says a word, any word including "no," "yes," "please," "milk," etc.., expand on it. Repeat what your child says to give validation. Then repeat the word or phrase while adding a word or two (expansion). Wait a few moments to see if your child will repeat your expanded phrase. If your child repeats you, yeah, success! If your child does not repeat your phrase, repeat it one more time and move on. 


  • Don't correct your child’s grammar if they are less than 3 years of age. Grammar skills develop slowly over the next few years.
  • Expand with one or two words only. Keep it simple! If your expansion is too long, your child may not repeat it.
  • Give adequate wait time, up to 10 seconds in some cases, for your child to respond.
  • This technique is beneficial as it gives validation to your child’s communication attempts and expands the length of their utterances.

Example Script:

Parent and child eating lunch

This script combines the question technique with Repeat-Expand-Repeat.

  • Parent: Want chicken (shows chicken in one handor hamburger (shows hamburger in the other hand)?
  • Child: Child points to chicken                                                           
  • Parent: Chicken (brings chicken half way to child)?                               
  • Child: Smiles and points at chicken                             
  • Parent: Chicken (gives child chicken)                                 
  • Child: “tiken!”                                                
  • Parent: Chicken! (parent repeats)
  • Parent: Chicken sandwich. (parent expands)
  • Child: Tiken sandwis. (child repeats expansion)
  • Parent: Chicken sandwis, yummy! ( parent repeats expanded phrase one more time)                                            

Parent and child are eating

  • Child: No more (child pushes food away)
  • Parent: No More? (parent repeats)
  • Parent: No more food. (parent expands)
  • Child: No more food. (child repeats expanded phrase)
  • Parent: No more food! All done (parent repeats one more time)

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