Longing to hear your tiny tot say a word or two? On average, toddlers are ready to utter their first words by one year or so. If you're feeling anxious to get your toddler talking, remember that every child has a timeframe to start speaking that’s just right for him or her. Are you eager to support your child’s budding language skills? Try a few of these easy, common-sense tips to get your toddler talking.
Language Development Tips:
1. Sing lullabies – Little ones hear words and absorb them. Lullabies often repeat words and phrases, which can become a source of comfort to the toddler. When your tot hears the words often enough, he or she will begin to recall the sounds of certain words.
2. Read storybooks – Toddlers enjoy seeing and hearing colorful stories with easy, fun words. Try to read books geared to the young child, and you’ll be surprised at the way they can hold his or her interest. Some books even have sing-alongs built right into them, much to the delight of little ones.
3. Describe what you see and do – When you talk about what’s happening in the toddler’s world, he or she starts to make connections between certain words. If you describe what the baby or you are doing, you may be helping to build the skills that are precursors of language.
4. Repeat words and phrases – It’s helpful to repeat what you say. This supports a young tot in developing the awareness of certain sound associations. Some experts claim that for adults, it takes at least 28 times of repeating something before it becomes ingrained. Imagine how much longer it might take for a young human to learn something new?
Dr. John Medina, a developmental biologist and father, agrees with the parental method of talking to your toddler a lot. In his book Brain Rules for Baby, he suggests “Just talk" as a way to help your child develop language.
Do You Know the Stages of Speech Development?
- Vocalizing vowel sounds (0-3 mos.)
- Reduplicated babbling—repeating the same sound, like "ba-ba-ba" (4-6 mos.)
- An increased amount of babbling -- including mixing sounds (6-9 mos.)
- Making nonsense sounds -- as if the baby talking in his own language (10-12 mos.)
- Saying real words (10-18 mos.)
Here's a checklist of language/communication milestones. It's a reliable way to help gauge your baby's progress.
Developmental Milestones for Toddlers
- Can usually say a few single words
- Is able to say “no” and shake head
- Can point to something desired
- Can point to objects when their names are called
- Comprehends names of people who are familiar
- Speaks in 2- to 4-word sentences
- Is able to repeat words
You play an important role in your child’s language development, so be sure to stay in tune with your baby’s progress. Check the milestones your baby reaches at the end of each stage. Jot them down to take with you to your child’s pediatrician at the next visit. Your baby’s doctor can help you understand the milestones your child has reached and what you can expect in the near future.