Let’s chat about an important topic – toddler speech development! Language skills are essential to your child’s future. Strong communication skills can help children manage their emotions, develop healthy relationships, and succeed professionally. As a parent, you can accelerate and enhance their verbal development by the way you interact with your child. Read on for tips on how to help your toddler develop language skills and how to improve language skills for toddlers.
Last updated January 2022
How can I help my child develop language skills?
Many studies show that talking and reading with children from an early age helps them to increase their vocabulary and other verbal abilities. Follow these practical tips full of simple and fun activities to help develop language skills in toddlers and preschoolers.
Tips for Talking with Your Toddler and Preschooler for Speech Development:
Discuss routine activities. Turn household chores and errands into teachable moments. Describe what you’re doing as you cook, bake a cake, or go shopping. Talk through bathtime or as you’re getting dressed. What do you do when brushing teeth? Talk about all the tools you are using (toothbrush, toothpaste, water) and let them explore the ideas.
Sing and dance. Children enjoy sounds and movement. My son is obsessed with songs and has specific ones in a particular order that we must do even before bedtime. Music also makes lessons more memorable and demonstrates the rhythm of language. Focus on repetitive lyrics and funny tunes. Singing and dancing are also great sensory input activities that help tremendously with speech development.
Share stories. Imagine and make up stories with your children and have them help create stories too. Use the names of family members and other familiar information to make the stories more relatable.
Play word games. Make learning fun with puzzles, puns, and riddles. Show how words that sound the same can have different meanings. Laugh about silly noises like ducks quacking and balloons popping.
Do crafts or activities. Doing fun toddler-appropriate activities and crafts provides opportunities to connect with your child and encourage learning and language development. Talking through all the steps and the final product of your activity opens up the communication avenues while having fun.
Plan field trips. Bring language to life by visiting places where your children can see what they’re learning about. Attend special exhibitions at art and science museums and check the calendars for hands-on family activities. Visit amusement parks, state fairs, and toy stores. Check out the lovely aquarium at your local Bass Pro Shops or the fountain at the mall.
“Want gray water fish.” ?? We went to a birthday party at the bowling place which went about as expected with preschoolers who can’t take turns yet. But after we saw this awesome aquarium and it was a perfect cool down break. ?? Now we’re home and he can’t stop asking about the fish. I definitely need to take him to more aquariums. . #toddlerslife #toddlerfun #toddlermommy #toddlermom #preschoolerlife #preschoolermom #boymommy? #boymomlife #fabworkingmomlife #workingmomma #workingmommy #workingmomlife
Follow their lead. Ask questions. Give your child your full attention when they’re talking to you. Build on what they’re saying. Ask them how they feel and what they like. Children learn by asking questions, and answering them can help too. Include open-ended questions that will stimulate conversation.
Give Choices. Letting your child choose between two objects, whether it is what to wear today or what snack to eat, isn’t just great advice to help give toddlers some control. It exposes your child to new words and motivates them to use words to communicate their power.
Tips for Reading with Your Preschooler or Toddler to Develop Language Skills:
Create a home library. Fill your home with attractive and enriching books and other reading material. Design an inviting reading nook like a table covered with blankets to look like a fort or a stack of soft pillows on the floor.
Encourage their interests. Pick books about your child’s favorite subjects. Are they obsessed with spiders like mine? Or robots. You can easily find fun board books on any topic with any characters.
Use add-on words. Illustrated books are lovely for word exploration and language development. As your child points out a flower on the page, add on a descriptive word such as a color or size.
Take turns. As your child grows older, encourage him or her to read to you. Toddlers and preschoolers can point out pictures and describe what is happening in them.
Give gentle feedback. Children are bound to make some interesting guesses as they’re learning about pronunciation and grammar. To guide them without discouraging them, try repeating back the corrected version of what they said while praising them for their efforts.
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Help your child to succeed in school and beyond by teaching them how to express themselves and understand others at an early age. Spending time talking and reading with your child draws you closer together while you encourage their growth and development.
Here’s a great infographic showing a child’s development by months of age, up to 3 years.
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