It’s another great milestone in your toddler’s development when he is learning to talk. This is a real fun and exciting stage for any parent as you can now start communicating with your toddler using real words.
Here are some helpful ways to improve your toddler’s speech and communication skills.
Each toddler learns at his or her own speed, rate and time. Keep in mind some toddlers are late talkers and it doesn’t mean they’re developmentally slow or less intelligent than another toddler who can string two words together at 18 months old. They may also use real words and babble at the same time. There’s nothing to worry about as this is normal.
Your toddler will pick up new words very quickly even when you don’t think they’re listening so it’s important for you, your spouse and any older siblings to filter what they say around a toddler who’s learning to talk. Even if your little one isn’t talking yet, he will understand simple instructions like “Find a book for Mommy to read to you.” or “Pick up your blanket off the floor.”
This is also a good time to start teaching your toddler the alphabet and sounds of each letter as this will help in sounding out easy words in books and developing his speech. There will be some letters that are harder for a toddler to say, but again, don’t worry about it as it will be learned later on.
When a toddler starts learning how to talk, it’s important to not use baby talk. Talk to your toddler in full sentences. Look at your toddler when you speak to him so he can see your facial expressions. This will help him associate words with actions. Your toddler will also learn quicker when you speak in simple, but full sentences. Avoid choppy or incomplete sentences as your child will think that’s the proper way of speaking and communicating.
Read books aloud with them. You can help him recognize words by saying and pointing at the word and then pointing to the picture. Everyone learns from repetitive behavior and seeing the same words frequently. You can also go through a photo album and re-create stories about an event. You can ask him questions like what did he see on the birthday cake etc.
Talk to your little one whenever you can. When you’re dressing your child, for example, putting on his shoes, describe to him what you’re doing. You could say something like, “You have to wear your red boots today because it’s raining” or touch his right arm and say, “Put your right arm in here first.”
Another way to help your toddler develop his vocabulary is by playing games with him. You can ask him to point to his nose, where his mouth is and so forth. You can make meal times fun by teaching him what he is eating.
Keep talking and encouraging your toddler to talk. He will soon find out he can use words to describe his feelings, wants and needs making it a lot easier for everyone around him to understand what he wants.
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