As a parent, you can support your toddler's language development by consistently providing engaging, language-rich experiences and materials. If your child has not started talking yet, there is no need to worry as every kid talks on their own timeline. Some toddlers begin to talk early, while some takes time. So, there is no need to rush. All you can do as a parent is make their speech development journey uncomplicated using different learning methods.
What Experts Have to Say About Toddlers and Their Speech?
How toddlers learn to talk has been the subject of extensive investigation.
Here are a few key points that have been found through research of raising children:
- Toddlers typically begin producing their first words around 12-18 months of age and combine words into short phrases around 18-24 months.
- Babies learn to talk through exposure to the language. They learn by listening to others speak and by being spoken to themselves.
- Toddlers also learn to talk through imitation. They will often mimic the words and phrases they hear, which helps them build their vocabulary and learn the rules of language.
- Their cognitive and social-emotional development also influences toddlers' language development. For example, their capacity to comprehend and express their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, might affect their language abilities.
There are several things that parents and caregivers can do to support toddlers' language development, including talking to them regularly, reading to them, and providing a rich language environment.
5 Effective Ways to Teach Your Toddler How to Talk
To teach your toddler how to talk, try talking to them often and using simple words and sentences. You can repeat and expand on the words and phrases they say. To aid in their understanding, use gestures and facial expressions. Or, you can read books together and point out objects in the book to help them learn new words.
When you repeat words and phrases frequently in a cheerful and enthusiastic tone, you are helping your toddler to learn and recognize new words. The more you repeat these words, the more familiar they will become to your child. One fun way to do this is to make a game out of it.
You could, for example, have a "word of the day" and every time you use that word throughout the day, you give your toddler a sticker or some other small reward. Look for the imitative toys that will be helpful for your kid. As they will be learning and playing at the same time.
Talking & Mimicking Toys:
Talking toys mimic kids' voices, play melodies and lights up while mimicking, helping toddlers learn about cause and effect and teaching new words. Such toys are fun and engaging that can hold a toddler's attention and encourage them to play and explore.
Let’s take the example of dancing and talking cactus; this toy dances and talks, helping toddlers new words. It is a playful and interactive toy that can entertain and educate toddlers at the same time.
Word Flashcards and Educational Apps:
Flashcards with pictures and words can be used to teach toddlers new vocabulary. You can use flashcards to play matching games or to introduce new words during everyday activities.
There are many apps and toys designed for kids learning available that can help toddlers learn new words and practice their language skills. These applications feature entertaining and age-appropriate games, music, and interactive activities.
These toys talk or make sounds when a button is pressed, helping toddlers learn about cause and effect and teaching new words. They are a great way to introduce toddlers to new vocabulary and concepts in a fun and interactive way.
Learning Exercise With Food:
Cooking with your toddler is not only a fun way to spend time together, but it also provides an opportunity to teach them new words and concepts. As you're preparing the meal, you can turn it into an interactive learning experience by pointing to the different ingredients and naming them. For example, you can say "Look at this onion! It's round and it's going to make the soup taste yummy. Can you say onion?"
As you continue to cook, you can teach them about different types of food, such as "This is a tomato, it's a fruit, it's red and it's going in our salad." or "This is chicken, it comes from the farm and it's a source of protein.". This will help your child develop their vocabulary and understanding of the world around them.
Say Nursery Rhymes:
Reciting nursery rhymes with your toddler is a fun and engaging way to help them learn to speak. These simple, catchy songs and verses have been passed down through generations, and have been proven to be effective in teaching language and literacy skills.
One of the key benefits of reciting nursery rhymes is that they help to develop a child's listening and memory skills. By hearing and repeating the words and phrases in the rhyme, your toddler will be able to build a stronger foundation for their language skills. Additionally, the repetitive nature of nursery rhymes makes it easy for children to memorize the words and phrases. It will help them to become more confident and comfortable with speaking.
The Importance of Supporting Toddler Language Development
The “Speech and Language Developmental Milestones" from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) discusses the process of early speech and language development among kids. As per the research, the first three years of a child’s life are more crucial to develop speech and language skills.
"Communicating with Your Child" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information on the importance of early language development. It offers tips and activities for parents to use with their children..
Bonus: Tips for Supporting Toddler Language Development
Play With Dolls or Stuffed Animals:
Pretending to play with dolls or stuffed animals can help toddlers practice using new words and speaking in different voices.
Encourage Descriptive Language:
Encourage your toddler to describe objects, events, and experiences using descriptive words and phrases. For example, instead of just saying "dog," encourage them to say "big brown dog."
Repeating words and phrases can help toddlers learn new vocabulary and reinforce their understanding of language.
Encourage Listening Skills:
Encourage your toddler to listen carefully by giving them simple instructions and asking them to follow them.
Use Visual Aids:
Visual aids like pictures, videos, and charts can help toddlers understand new concepts and words.
Encourage your young child to share stories with you or make up their own. This helps them practice using words to express their thoughts and ideas.
Use Sign Language:
Teaching your toddler basic sign language can help them communicate before they can speak and support their language development.
Encourage Play With Sounds:
Encourage your toddler to play with sounds by making different noises with their mouth or using musical instruments. This helps them learn about the different sounds that make up language.
These techniques may be included in your language-learning activities to aid your toddler's language development and help them become more certain communicators.
Also Read: Why Painting and Drawing is Good for Kids?
To help your toddler learn to speak and understand words, try using talking toys, picture books, and educational apps. You can talk to them frequently, and use resources like picture books, flashcards, and language-learning apps. These exercises help your child become more articulate and enhance their communication abilities.
Encourage your toddler to communicate with you, and be consistent in using language-rich resources as part of your daily routine. With the right resources and approach, you can help your toddler develop strong language skills and become a confident and effective communicator.