Supporting toddler speech

By Jack N' Jill

One of the most exciting milestones when raising children is hearing your child utter their first word. All children develop at different ages, so Jack n' Jill have compiled some ideas to support and encourage that first word.

Read bedtime stories

Read to your child every day, the best time is in the evening after their bath when your child is relaxed and in a quiet environment. Do not worry if your child only has a short concentration span, stick at it and read as much of the book as possible. Your toddler will memorize their favourite book and after many reads (often a challenge for you to stay focused!) it is safe to occasionally ask them to fill in some words such as dog or drink etc!

Use correct terminology

From around 2 years old toddlers understand full sentences. Do not ‘baby-fy’ words and say things like choo choo for train. Try speaking in correct sentences and use the correct term from the start.

Play

This is a great way for your child to learn. Talk about your day, everything is exciting when you are a toddler from washing the car to walking the dog. Ask them simple questions about their day such as ‘What is the dogs name?’, ‘ What colour is daddy’s car?’ Try repeating the word you are encouraging too such as ‘The dog was big’, ‘Daddy’s car is also big’!

Out and about

Have a conversation in the car, talk about products in the supermarket. Be as descriptive as possible. If you pick a flower in the park say something like ‘Look at the yellow flower, it looks so pretty on the green grass.’ Expand on what your child may say. If your child says drink, say ‘Here is your water in your blue dinosaur cup.’

Listen

Focus on what your child is saying and encourage them. Help them feel confident in talking to you. When they do prounouce something correctly. Reward with clear feedback. If they say socks, say ‘Yes that’s right you are taking off your socks.’ Be patient and try not to discourage and they will soon be aware of the difference between a socks and shoes. Give your toddler time to chat back, pause and allow them time to have a conversation with you.

Start from newborn

From the minute they are born have conversations with them such as ‘We are going to bath you now’, ‘Let me wrap you up in a warm, cuddly towel’. They learn so much from just hearing you talk to them. Don’t be silent – chat away!

Most of all, make learning to talk fun! Pay attention to them when they try to communicate to you and let them see your face and lips when you have a conversation with them.

Research shows that 4 year olds ask around 1 question every 56 seconds! Wow!

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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