How to Encourage Your Toddler to Talk: Helpful Tips
How can I improve my child’s ability to speak, this is a common refrain among young parents. Sure enough, you want to see your toddler develop language skills in toddlers and speak nineteen to a dozen! Before we share some helpful tips to help your child talk, it is worth mentioning that toddlers pick up language skills at their own pace. So unless there are any big milestones that they are missing there may not be caused to worry.
Here is what you can do to encourage speech & help develop their language skills. Some of the exercises to help a 2-year-old talk, include:
1. Read, Read, Read
There is nothing quite like helping your child expand his or her vocabulary than reading to them. A 2019 study, went on to show how having one book read to the child each day, exposes the child to 1.4 million more words as compared to those children who aren’t read to, by kindergarten. Reading is also a great way to bond with the child and offer you coachable moments to help the child develop important life skills! Singing to the child, whether it is their favorite lullaby or a song is also a well-loved activity to help toddlers with speech.
2. Converse with the Child and Develop Language Skills in Toddlers
Even if the child isn’t very vocal, it will help to talk to the child. The more you talk and express yourself, the easier it will be for the toddler to learn the language. You can talk to them about your day, and if you are out for a walk, talk to them about what you see around; the options are unlimited. Make sure though that you use simple words and short sentences that are age appropriate. Even if the child does not reply or uses sign language to communicate their needs, make sure you do not give up talking. So if the child points to his toy car, it will be a good idea to go on to say “ yes that is your car.” As far as possible do expand on the child’s responses. So if the child mentions the car, go ahead and say “ yes it’s your red, toy car.”
3. Don’t Baby Talk
Who doesn’t like to hear that adorable baby talk? Go ahead and enjoy it by all means but do not use it yourself. In fact, when the child refers to something in baby language, make sure you use the right usage in your response.
4. Give them Choices
Giving the children choices will not only improve their communication skills but also their critical thinking and decision-making abilities. So next time instead of offering breakfast to the child, offer him two healthy options to choose from. If they gesticulate, gently encourage them to use words instead. Seemingly small tips such as these will help your child talk.
5. Limit Screen Time
Believe it or not, increased screen time does not just harm the child’s eyes, it also leads to language delays. In a 2018 study increased screen time in 18-month-olds found a clear correlation with speech delays. It is interaction with others, as opposed to staring at a screen that can help with language development. For kids between the ages of 2 to 5, typically no more than 1 hour of screen time per day, though not at a stretch, may be ideal.
What if your toddler isn’t talking?
If despite all your efforts your toddler is having trouble developing language skills, it will be good to proactively look for symptoms of a language delay. Some of these symptoms include:
- Not talking by the age of 2
- Having limited vocabulary
- Trouble putting together a sentence
- Trouble understanding simple requests
Should you be facing any of these issues or generally have concerns, it will be good to speak to the child’s pediatrician. Language delays can occur on account of a range of issues including but not limited to:
- Hearing impairments
- Intellectual disabilities
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
A detailed assessment of the child would help reveal the underlying cause and solutions could be recommended accordingly.
To Sum Up
Children develop language skills at their individual paces. It is therefore unfair to compare one child to the other. Remember also that talking can be frustrating for toddlers – they have a lot to tell you but can’t quite get the words out. Encouraging your toddler to talk through some fun activities and praising their efforts will show results. Soon you would be looking for a moment of peace & quiet amidst all their chatter!