Talking Tips for Toddlers
10 Talking Tips for Toddlers
- READ, READ, READ! The best thing you can do for your child is to read books to them. Choose colorful books with large, simple pictures. Talk about the pictures rather than just reading the text. Encourage interaction from your child by asking him/her questions. Point to what they are talking about.
- Encourage communication. Once your child is old enough to communicate using sign language or words, encourage communication. Wait for your child to ask, gesture, or sign for a toy on a shelf, rather than just getting it for him. Do not anticipate your child’s needs or desires before he has a chance to make them known to you. If your child gets what he wants without communicating for it, he will not bother to point, gesture, or ask.
- Wait, wait, wait. Delay your responses to your child’s pointing, gesturing, or babbling when he wants things. Pretend you don’t understand what he wants to see if your child will try to verbally communicate. Pausing allows your child another change to verbally express himself.
- Parent’s speech. Label objects and actions in read life and in pictures. Use slow, simple speech when talking to your child. Never talk “baby talk” to your child. instead, always use real words. For example, say “bottle” rather than “baba.”
- Self talk. Talk out-loud about what you are seeing, hearing, doing, and feeling when your child is in earshot. Your child does not need to be paying attention to you when you are talking out loud to receive the benefits of speech. If your child has a hearing loss, provide access to self-talk he can access. Examples of this include decreasing the background noise, utilizing prescribed amplification (i.e. hearing aids, cochlear implants), positioning yourself so that your child can see your face, and using signs/gestures.
- Parallel talk. Talk out lous about what is happening to your child. Describe what he is doing, seeing, hearing, and feeling when your child is in ear shot. Even if your child isn’t paying attention, information can be learned through incidental learning. Why? Incidental learning is critical to improve communication skills.
- Praise your child! Respond to your child’s communication attempts with non-verbal and verbal praise. This will encourage him to try and communication more and more.
- Expansion modeling. Try and add one or two words to what your child says when you respond back to him. Example: Child says “Daddy” and you say “Daddy is home.”
- Use sign language. The use of sign language with young children has been found to encourage language development. Contrary to popular belief, the use of sign language with children who do or do not have hearing loss does not hinder spoken language development.
- Sing to your child. Song promotes vocal play, attention, listening, and speech. Sing simple songs your child can sing too. (Examples: “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, and “The Wheels on the Bus”)