Use Some Imagination To Teach Your Toddler To Talk
Parents are eager to communicate with children and look for ways to encourage your toddler to talk. There are no words to describe the euphoria you feel when your baby smiles and calls you ‘mama’ for the first time. Use our fun ideas to teach your toddler to talk and enjoy the time you spend with them.
Learning to talk is a complex skill that can sometimes be frustrating and needs repetition and patience. Toddlers have so much to say but often are not able to find just the right words to express themselves.
Encourage your toddler to talk by playing, singing nursery rhymes and having fun to expose them to new terms and foster language development.
Encourage Your Toddler To Talk At Their Own Pace
Babies start communicating even before they are born. They have facial expressions and movement within the womb. However, the process from babbling to speaking the right word is a complex learning curve.
It should not be rushed or pushed but inspire and motivate them to learn at their own pace. To encourage your toddler to talk you must first understand that every child is different!
Between 24 to 36 months, some toddlers may speak in correct sentences and even a stranger may understand them. A three-year-old may be able to follow everything his mama says or he may not. The process of teaching your toddler to talk will be different with every child so please don’t compare your child to others.
This article explores some fun and simple ways to teach your toddler to talk.
12 Fun Ways To Encourage Your Toddler To Talk
1. Reading Together
Reading with your toddler is one of the best ways to encourage your toddler to talk. By reading together and following the story it opens their mind to new words.
You can spend some time together looking at picture books, saying stories out loud and repeating them. A 2016 study found looking at picture books broadens a child’s language vocabulary.
It’s not about reading the full story but getting them to listen to the words and associating them with the pictures. If one page is all they want to read then that’s okay. Let them take the lead. Slowing down and listening to your child helps them learn to listen and understand.
Experts say reading one book a day exposes kids to about 1.4 million words by kindergarten. Now that is a great way to expand their vocabulary and encourage your toddler to talk.
2. Using Real Language Whenever Possible
Using real words whenever you explain things will teach your toddler to talk properly. The more information you use and convey, the easier will be their language development. When changing a diaper, talk to them in clear words and say, ”It’s time for a nappy change”.
Use simple and short sentences and avoid using baby talk. Baby talk may sound cute and adorable but responding with proper words will encourage your toddler to talk. An example would be if he says ‘nana’, respond by saying, “Would you like a banana?”
3. Naming Items
Pointing to objects and naming them teaches your toddler to talk by learning new words. You can be their interpreter and put words to their actions.
When they point to an apple say, “That’s an apple. Would you like one?” Prompt them to say the actual word.
Use playtime to identify objects and play the naming game. This gives them a fun way of learning and name all their favourite toys too!
4. Having Two-way Conversations
Having simple daily conversations is a fun way of teaching your toddler to talk. Tell them about everyday routines and what you are doing today.
Having two-way communication boosts your child’s confidence to use their babbling to communicate. It may sound like gibberish but listen for patterns and give a response, even just a smile. When you are hanging the washing, say, “I am hanging up the clothes to dry”.
You can also watch out for non-verbal gestures and help them expand that into simple words. Encourage your toddler to talk by listening to your baby’s sounds and responding in your language. This gives them a chance to learn new words and expand their vocabulary.
5. Using Sign Language To Encourage Talking
Using gestures is a brilliant and fun way to teach your toddler to talk. When you say a word, use a sign. For example, when you use the word ‘more’, make a sign and keep repeating the process.
If you repeat it regularly they will eventually associate the word with the motion. Using actions to communicate boosts confidence and promotes better learning opportunities.
6. Expanding On Their Responses
Encourage your toddler to talk with simple words to express their needs and feelings. Build on these words. If they say ‘play’ ask them in a simple tone, “Do you want to play?’’.
Promote open-ended questions by giving choices such as, apple juice or orange juice? Don’t make them too complicated and give them time to decide and interact. Piggybacking words opens the mind to and promotes more accessible language.
7. Positive Feedback
Kids thrive on positive feedback. When your little one says, ‘ba’ instead of baby don’t criticise or make fun of them. It can be quite tempting to compare your child with others. However, remember that every child is unique and learns at a different pace.
Instead, encourage your toddler to talk and give lots of praise. Speak in a normal tone and let them learn by listening to you. Focus on the content of the message rather than the word itself. Every child learns at their own pace and could just surprise you with a language explosion!
Children learn quickest when they are around children of their own age. What a fun activity to encourage your toddler to talk.
Organise a playdate with other kids their age and watch them play and interact. You will see them speak in their own unique language, have fun, learn from each other and also test their vocabulary.
Playdates inspire children and they often find new words and gestures to communicate their needs.
9. Making It Fun And Interactive
Learning to talk is a huge milestone and they need your full support and patience to attain it. It is essential to keep learning fun and interactive when teaching your toddler to talk. Expert advice recommends the best way for this is by playing.
So, instead of teaching words try singing to them. Sing a lullaby, play twinkle, twinkle little star and let him copy your actions. Interactive play is said to be one of the best ways to encourage your toddler to talk.
10. Let Them Lead
Encourage your toddler to talk by letting them start the conversation. Expressing needs and feelings in their own language is important and your job is to interpret them. Get them to tell grandparents or other family members what they have been doing.
It’s fun to hear their baby talk and opens the brain to explore tricky words and be imaginative.
11. Pretend Play
Isn’t it beautiful to watch your little bunny hopping around with his siblings? Kids love dressing up and being imaginative, especially with older brothers and sisters.
This form of play provides a learning environment for toddlers’, boosts their confidence and expands their world. Even with children their own age, “dress-ups” and “pretend” can teach your toddler to talk by being creative and using their imagination.
12. Limiting Screen Time
Educational programmes may be somewhat beneficial however, it is always advisable to limit screen time. Expert advice suggests screen time of less than one hour is advisable for toddlers.
The only way to teach your toddler to talk is to get them engaged and hours staring at a screen just won’t cut it.
At times it might feel that getting the TV going allows you to get your chores done, we get that! Why not involve your young one in the chores – we all know that kids just LOVE to help.
Choose other fun options like going for a walk, visiting the zoo, get out in the garden or have them help with dinner. Play the name game with them where you say the name of something and they repeat it. Not only is this fun and interactive it keeps them occupied and encourages your toddler to talk.
So, there you go! You now have 12 fun ways to encourage your toddler to talk. Find the ones that suit your little one and your family and use activities to teach your toddler to talk.
Learning to express themselves by using proper words will make their interactions more joyous and your life a little easier.
Keep trying and never give up. You are doing great, mama!
Joanne loves loves loves the science behind child development and the way in which children learn and grow. She spends a lot of her time studying child development and learning styles to help influence teachers ways of teaching different children. She hopes to one day have a big impact in this space and we are so lucky to have her as part of our writing team. Joanne is mum to 3 young adults and loves being a big part in their life.