Talk about what you’re doing. Speech therapists
call this “self-talk”.When you’re with your toddler talk about what you’re doing, seeing,
eating, touching, or listening to. Keep it short, simple and fun. For example, “I’m washing
the dishes….. Now, I’m drying them… All done.” Or “I see
a doggie. He’s a big doggie!” Don’t expect your little one to repeat you.
Narrating what you’re doing simply gives your child exposure to language and helps your
child understand that talking is fun and functional. Talk about what your child is doing. Speech
therapists refer to this as “parallel-talk”. When you’re watching your child play, talk
about what he or she is doing. Use words your that toddler understands. And remember keep
the sentences short and simple. For example, “You’re building a big tower! Wow!” or “You
threw the ball! Nice throw, Tommy!” Don’t ask too many questions. Asking questions
can make a child feel like you’re testing him and can be overwhelming.
Rather say more simple comments. For example, instead of picking up a toy truck and asking
“What is it?” you could say “That truck is fast.” Pause and wait a few seconds to see
if he says anything. If not add another comment: “I like your truck.” Then after a few comments
you can throw in an open-ended question like: “Where’s the truck going?” Don’t be discouraged
if he doesn’t respond since some open-ended questions can be a challenging word-retrieval
task. Give choices. If you’re toddler isn’t responding
well to open-ended questions then offering a choice may be a little easier. When we give
toddlers choices, we’re telling them that they have some control and their input matters.
Providing choices also encourages decision making and promotes language development.
“Sammy, do you want to play with the boat or the airplane?” Have the boat and plane
in your hands and hold each one up while you present each choice. Offering a choice not
only makes it easier for the child to potentially imitate and repeat, but it also allows the
child to point or gesture if he can’t say anything yet. Expand your toddler’s language. When your
little one starts combining two words, he may say something like: “baby cry” or “mommy
cook”. Take this opportunity to add in the missing words to make it a grammatically correct
sentence. So you could say “The baby is crying.” or “Mommy is cooking.” Thanks for tuning in. I hope this was helpful!
If you’d like to learn more about how to stimulate speech and language in toddlers then please
check out Kim’s website: MyToddlerTalks.com OR look for her book My Toddler Talks at Amazon.com.