Learning how to talk is a massive skill to learn. Additionally, it is one that is so important! Therefore, parents often stress out over any delay or whether letters are being said wrong. However, it is important not to panic over this as every toddler develops at a different speed. The best thing to do is follow these 10 tips to help your toddler talk! By doing this, learning to talk will be fun, supportive, and developmentally appropriate.
1. Talk About Everything You Do
When learning how to help your toddler talk, start off simple. By dictating even the most simple tasks, toddlers will be hearing a variety of words. For example, “I am getting the bread” or “Okay, let’s take out one piece,” are perfect places to start. This will allow toddlers to hear the names of different items and begin to learn how there are numbers associated with items. Additionally, to reach places, dictate locations. For example, “When we’re done, let’s go upstairs.” With this, toddlers are learning directions and different terms for parts of the house.
2. Verbal Labels
Everything has a name! Hence, be as specific as possible when talking about items. Whether it is couch, chair, book, bed, remote, lunch, or dinner, always use the proper term. When this happens, toddlers are processing the names of different items. Also, even if they are not ready to communicate, they still have an understanding. You may be able to say, “Hand me the book, please” and they will bring the book back. As time progresses, they will learn to say book!
Music is always so powerful. By playing songs for kids, they will try to sing along with time. Or, play nursery rhyme books. As toddlers become more familiar, they will start to dance and sing along. The Ditty Bird Books are perfect for this! Lastly, if you have Netflix, Little Baby Bum is also so fun! Music is encouraging and will help your little one be excited to talk.
4. Talk to Toddlers A LOT!
The power of listening is so strong. Whenever you can, talk to your toddler. Regardless of what you are doing, talk about it. For example, say what you are doing, eating, or wearing. Ultimately, this will help expose toddlers to communication.
5. Give Them Time to Talk
When learning to talk, there is a lot the brain has to process. Therefore, provide wait time to avoid rushing a toddler. If this occurs, they may begin to fear talking if they cannot think fast enough. It is so important to provide time for toddlers to process what is said and then build a response.
6. Stop Responding to Gestures/Nonverbal Commands
Toddlers are used to communicating through gestures and nonverbal commands. However, this habit has to be broken as a way to help them verbally communicate. If their caregivers continue to respond, toddlers will not have that extra push needed to expand their language skills.
7. Pay Attention to How You Speak
Imagine learning a foreign language and being completely confused. This is similar to what a toddler feels when learning to communicate. Thus, it is vital to speak at a slower pace. They are learning single words and need time to process each one. Additionally, make sure to speak clearly and enunciate when needed. Lastly, it is essential NOT to use baby talk. Toddlers cannot learn to talk using baby talk themselves, so the adults need to stop.
8. Read Books Together
Books have tremendous power to increase communication. When toddlers are read to, they are being exposed to hundreds of new words. Start with fun books, such as Baby’s First 100 Words or U is for Unicorn. Also, find books with lift-the-flap pages. Toddlers love these and several skills are involved to know when and how to open the flap.
9. Limit Screen Time
While it is easy to distract a toddler with a tablet, it is important not to overuse it. Toddlers need to be actively engaged. Additionally, The Academy of American Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under 18 months old avoid screen time completely. Then, children 18-24 months should only utilize a screen for an educationally-based program. Furthermore, a caregiver should be close by to guide learning and understanding. Hence, make sure to incorporate lots of talking and addressing what is going on in the video. When toddlers are 2-5 years old, it is important to limit screen time to one hour. Also, this time should be on educationally-based programs. These programs work to teach important concepts, such as counting, versus videos that may use poor language.
10. Time to Socialize
Toddlers can learn so much by socializing with other kids their age. Thus, it will be helpful to find Mommy and Me classes, playgroups, or even daycare. Places, such as MyGym, are great ways to incorporate play and socialization skills together!
Toddlers are at such an important time in life. Since there are so many skills to learn, it is important to make learning hands-on, fun, and engaging. When teaching toddlers to talk, try not to become overwhelmed or frustrated. They will sense this and be more hesitant to talk. Thus, these 10 strategies will create fun ways to support learning to talk!
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