Encouraging your Toddlers to Speak
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Your little ones have been soaking in the world around them with all the wonderful sights and sounds. They have been listening to you intently and mimicking the sounds and words they hear you use daily. They have been accumulating a bank of words and will quickly begin speaking! There are many ways you can help them along and, soon enough, your conversations with them will no longer be one sided!
Reading to your children frequently is the best way to help them learn to talk. Books for toddlers and preschoolers are usually very detailed and descriptive. They tend to be repetitive which might be boring and monotonous for us, but children love it. It helps them grasp the word and understand the meaning behind it. It exposes them to different topics and vocabulary that you might not be using when you speak to them on a daily basis. In addition, it strengthens their curiosity and encourages them to try and ask questions! Below is a list of books recommended by age group.
Speak to your children constantly. Whenever you are with them, explain aloud and in detail what you are doing (ie: Mommy is picking up the blue teddy bear and putting him in the purple basket.), describe what you see when you are walking around together (ie: Look at that big truck!), etc.
If your child is not yet speaking, try utilizing simple sign language such as “hello”, “goodbye” and “I want more”.
When your children are playing, sit and interact with them about what they are doing and ask them questions. For example, if they are pretending to be driving a car, ask them where they are going, what they see while they are driving around, who they are going to see, etc. Having them describe their actions encourages two-way conversations.
When picking out clothes or snacks with your children, give them a few choices and encourage them to use their words to explain which they would prefer. This not only helps to develop their speech, but it promotes a sense of independence as well.
Play games with them to develop their speech skills. Sit with your children in front of a mirror and show them the different ways your lips move when you say different words. Be sure to speak clearly and slowly, articulate each sound, and have your children mimic you!
Always be sure to praise them when they use their words correctly but if they pronounce a word incorrectly, avoid using negative phrases (such as “wrong” or “no”). Try repeating the word they were trying to say properly and have them imitate you.
Learning to speak is an intricate and complex skill that requires a lot of patience from both the children and you. Let your children express themselves to you in whatever is most comfortable for them without getting frustrated. With these exercises and time, you’ll have a little chatterbox.
List of recommended books according to research:
· Large pictures and bright colors
· Pop-up books and lightweight books
· Books that are able to get wet in the bath
· Books with photos of other babies
· Books with photos of familiar objects such as toys and items around the house
· Books with drawings or pictures of faces
· Books they can carry
· Showing other children having fun
· Books that teach how to relax at bedtime
· Books that have characters saying hello and good-bye
· Books with a few words per page such as rhymes
· Showing animals
· Simple stories
· Rhymes and songs
· Books about counting, the alphabet, shapes, or sizes
· Animals, vehicles, and toy pictures
· Fun and imaginative characters