Helping Your Toddler to Talk: Advice from our Brisbane Speech Pathologists
As local Brisbane Speech Pathologists, we speak with families daily about the best ways to enhance communication, across the years. If you’ve ever wondered what the best way to help your toddler to get started with words, you’re not alone.
Certainly, when a child is late to talk, or having trouble getting their messages across, it can be a frustrating time! They often know what they want to say, they might even be great at gesturing, but how can we cross the bridge into spoken words?
We know that by their first birthday, babies should be starting to speak using single words for a variety of reasons. Heading then towards their second birthday, they should have an expressive vocabulary of between 50-200 words, and be starting to use word combinations.
So if this isn’t happening yet for your little one – what can we do?!
Our speech pathologists have come up with their 4 best tips for promoting language development at home.
Our speech pathologists help families to get their babies talking all the time – it’s one of our favourite things to do! So have a read, employ some of these strategies deliberately in your 1:1 time today with your toddler, and enjoy the process!
Here are our four top tips to get your baby talking:
It seems so simple, but waiting is an important tool for getting your child to talk! Waiting gives your child time to think and respond to what you’ve said or done. When you wait it’s important to stop talking, and look at your child expectantly. Counting slowly and silently to 10 can be helpful. Once your child responds to you with a word, sound, or gesture respond immediately with interest.
Try not to fill the silence with more questions, or repeating yourself! Simply make a comment, WAIT, and LOOK expectantly with gesture to indicate it is your babies turn in the conversation.
General interactions between parent and child should be filled with delight and love. Back and forth circles of communication, including non verbal gesturing is the goal. To encourage interaction, and language, choose activities which promote love and delight, and speak to your child’s interest. Activities like bubbles, playing with rolling balls, tickles and raspberries are often good starting points. Your early conversations should be filled with laughter, sound making, and good eye contact, with the child re-initiating the interaction when you stop.
Modeling is an extremely powerful way of helping young children learn language. The general rule is, try to model only a tiny step above the level of language that your child is already using. E.g if your child can use single words (e.g. up), try to model two (lift up, up high, go up etc)
When you are modelling – use ‘motherese’. This sing song, highly intonated style of speech helps babies to learn new words.
Special Time Together
Dedicate special time each day to 1:1 conversations with your baby or toddler. Spend time looking at bright and colourful books, playing peekaboo, anything that can get you face to face and sharing attention with a simple object. It’s important that your child can see your face, as well as look at the object with you together. Having daily time together reinforces how special communication is, and gives you a daily opportunity to practice modelling, waiting and delight.
If you would like to learn more about early language in the toddler years, click here to read about Tips for your Two year old!
If you have concerns about your toddler’s talking, and would like advice from a Speech Pathologist about how to get them on the right track, you can easily book a Late Talker Assessment online now with one of our friendly Speech Pathologists.