Speech Development Tips:
Encouraging a Gabfest

Here are some great ways to promote your toddler’s language development skills.

  • Talk with your toddler as much as you can. The more she hears, the more words she can learn. And it does make a difference where she hears the words. Passively watching television has been found to be less effective at teaching language to toddlers than chatting away with a parent.

  • Ask your toddler questions. Even if he can’t answer them yet, hearing them will get his mind going and before your know it, he’ll be asking you about everything under the sun.

  • Read and look at pictures together. Discus the pictures you see. Is it a brown cat or a white cat? Is it a tall man or a short man? The more your toddler interacts with the words, the more she can learn.

  • Simple songs that have actions with them like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” can help your toddler remember words better.

  • When you’re in a new environment, help your toddler learn new words by playing “Name It.” Point to an item and ask him to say what it is. If he doesn’t know, it’s okay to cheat and whisper the answer in his ear.

  • Older toddlers that have more developed verbal skills can practice their abilities by telling stories. Ask your toddler to make up her own story or to help you by asking her what happens next in the tale.

  • Your toddler might get some positive peer pressure when he plays with other, more talkative toddlers. Since children often imitate those around them, your toddler may just start talking more himself when he is surrounded by other toddlers who have the gift of the gab.