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Wednesday 4 October 2017

Helping your Toddler to Talk #toddlerhealth

Brianna, © 2017

Brianna turned 2 this past summer, and she's just starting to talk. She understand and responds to everything, but doesn't really talk much as of yet. She's been trying to sound out the words, but doesn't quite finish every word. The more that I talk to her, the more opportunities she has to learn to talk. All children are different and learn at different rates, just make sure to give plenty of opportunities to interact with them.

The more fun you have with your toddler when learning words, the more likely she is to use them. There's plenty of ways you can help your little one with learning to talk...

  • Talk as much and often as you can. Watch her face, make eye contact and look interested in whatever she's trying to say to you.
  • Focus on what she's trying to say, instead of the clarity of what she's saying. It will take a bit of time for her to properly pronounce words. Try and make sure that she feels confident when talking to you.
  • When she is successful in talking to you, be sure to give positive feedback. Say something like, "Yes, that's right, it's a fork."
  • Let your toddler see what you mean, by matching what you say. For example, "Pick up your toys", and show her the action of picking them up.
  • Get her attention by saying her name before you talk to her, as well as make eye contact. This will help make her understand that you're talking to her.
Give your toddler the opportunity to talk to you everyday during activities. If you ask her questions, try and pause so that she has time to answer you.

  • Be sure to expose your little one to new situations so that you can introduce more words. Take her for a walk or even ride the bus. Make sure to point out things that you see when you're out and about.
  • Try and repeat everything back to your toddler when she talks to you., even if she doesn't say it clearly. Try and expand on what she says. So if she says something like "nana" when she wants a banana, try saying "Yes, here's a banana."
  • Simplify your words and use short sentences. Be sure to emphasize on key words when you're talking. This helps them to focus on the important information.
  • This is a huge one... SWITCH OFF UNNECESSARY BACKGROUND NOISE FROM TV'S, COMPUTERS, CELLPHONES/IPADS. This will help them focus their attention on you when you're talking to them. It's harder for a child to filter out background noise than an adult.
How can you make learning to talk fun?
  • Try and get down on the floor and play with your toddler. Let her chose the toy or activity, and talk about what she's doing. By joining in the fun of playing with her, you'll give her more opportunities to hear examples of words.
  • Have fun pretending one of your toddlers toys is real, like a favorite bear. Include the toy in what you're doing... have a tea party, put a bib on it, and of course talk to her. Talk about what teddy is doing while she does it.
  • Read and look at books with your toddler. Even if you don't read the story, she will learn by listening to you explaining the pictures.
  • Have fun with nursery rhymes, especially those that have actions to them. Ex: "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands", and physically do the motion with her. 
  • Play a game where you have to take turns. Turn-tasking skills will help her learn how to contribute to conversations.
  • Try some listening games like clapping games, where you clap certain patterns. Then let your little one copy and clap the same pattern.
  • Visit your local park and have a picnic. Then after, lay down on the blanket and ask her to listen to her surroundings. After a minute or so, ask her what she could hear. You can then talk about the birds chirping, or the sound of the wind in the trees, or a dog barking, etc.

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