Are you worried that your toddler isn’t talking enough? Do you find that you or your toddler become frustrated when you don’t know what he wants? Or maybe you have a family history of late talkers and are looking for ideas on how to stay in tune with your toddler’s language development? Relax Speech Booster can help you and your child move through this difficult stage. See below for some great, fun everyday activity ideas to give your child’s speech a boost!
Firstly, think about how often and in what situations your toddler uses his words. Does your toddler initiate conversation? Perhaps there isn’t much talking because your little man is independent. Have you carefully positioned his toys so he knows exactly where to find them and are they also within his reach so he doesn’t need to ask help to get them? Does your toddler point towards the objects he is interested in but does not use his words to assist this communication attempt? Perhaps you (or an older sibling) know your child so well that you sense what he wants all without him having to use his words and ask for help.
If you think this might be happening in your home this next activity is for you and your toddler to try. This will be a change for both you and your toddler. You need to let your toddler know that the expectations for his talking have changed. You now require him to use his words to communicate his needs and wants. Now is the time to consider where you can easily convert an everyday activity into an opportunity for a language learning experience for your toddler.
When it comes to building your toddler’s communication skills, you need to follow his lead. Start by making a list of all the words he can say (even if only you can understand them). Here is a list of early words your child may have.
[Mummy, Daddy, baby, milk, juice, hello, bye bye, ball, yes, no, dog, cat, nose, eye, (ba)nana, biscuit (bickie), car, hot, thank you (ta), bath, shoe, hat, book, all gone, more.]
During your everyday tasks you may like to try to:
- recast and positively reinforce the words your toddler already says. Reinforcing your child’s speech is often more effective by what you do rather than what you say. By engaging in the conversation your toddler will receive the best reinforcement of all, your time and attention.
- expand the sentence your toddler provides.
- model new words.
- provide choices for him to assist his use of new words.
Activity example: Your toddler walks up to you holding a book.
Parent: What have you got?
Child: Boo (book)
Parent: Book. Your book. Read your book?
Child: nods head
Parent: Yes. Read book.
Parent & Child sit together with the book (eg. I Went Walking. By Sue Machin)
Parent: The girl is looking at something. Is it a duck or a cat?
Child: ‘du’ (points to duck)
In this short activity before you have even started to read the story, you have:
- recast your toddler's verbal and non verbal attempts to communicate (book, yes)
- expanded your toddlers sentence (read book)
- modelled new words and word combinations for your toddler to say (your book, read book, yes, duck)
- provided choices and created opportunities for your toddler to say new words (duck or cat)
Throughout your day there will be other situations that you can try to use some or all of these strategies. Some ideas to get you thinking are:
- Engage your toddler in simple meal/snack preparation. Would you like vegemite or peanut on your toast?
- Tune into your toddlers play. Say aloud what you are doing and thinking. Blocks. Building blocks. What will I build? I think I will build a house. What parts do I need to build? A house needs walls. I need lots of blocks to build walls.
- Ask your child to be your helper at bath time. What do we need to do first? Should we take off your shoes or your top?
These activities should be fun talking experiences for you and your toddler. If your toddler experiences difficulty or becomes easily frustrated with using his words, please seek advice from a healthcare professional.
Thanks for reading Speech Booster’s Blog.
Contact a Speech Pathologist to discuss your child’s speech and language development if you feel your toddler is a late talker, or you would simply like some reassurance that your toddler is on the right talking path.
Speech & Language Pathologist
Located in Pascoe Vale, Melbourne
( 0418 312 479