When it comes to your toddler’s speech, you’re probably worried about a lot of things – are they talking right, are their pronunciations correct, are they starting too late, am I doing this right… the list can go on. Don’t worry! All you need to do is include these tips into everyday activities that you can do with your toddler, and soon your child will be well on their way to improving their speech skills.
TIPS ON HELPING YOUR TODDLER’S SPEECH
- Keep talking to your toddler. The best thing that you as a parent can do is to verbalize everything when they are around. When your child hears you talk, they will try to emulate you and do the same.
- Remember to read a lot. It is important to read to your toddler every day, as this will keep the momentum going in their brain – read clearly, loudly and in a two-dimensional tone (include emotions, pauses, and sound variations).
- Let your child “read” a picture book with you, as this will help them to link pictures to words. You can tell a story by just using two pictures, of a tennis ball and a tennis racket for example, so make sure your child sees the pictures and hears the name of the object, and how it can fit into different context.
- Watching cartoons on television or on the tablet should be kept to a minimum. A little screen time can be valuable, but reading is by far better than the television, so monitor your child’s screen time as much as possible.
USING EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE BABY TALK
- Identify similarities and differences in objects and help your child categorize items like this. These differences or similarities can be color, size, or weight of toys or books. This way, you can suggest an activity by identifying these traits, for example sorting out your child’s summer cardigans from their winter sweaters
- Incorporate the use of words into everyday activities like grocery shopping or cooking, by saying what you’re doing. “Look, I’m peeling the potatoes so that I can cut them with a knife and boil them in the pot”, for example. Point to the objects that you’re talking about and do this with any activity. Emphasize past and present tense to keep the flow logical, and ask your baby what you are doing, if you’ve done it before
- Avoid correcting your child if their pronunciation is not correct. Instead of saying “no, say xyz”, try repeating what they said, but in the correct pronunciation – this avoids your little one feeling like they’re not talking right, which could also prove to be a stumbling block in the learning process
- When your baby is at the stage where they only say one or two words when they see something, expand on their word(s) and complete the sentence for them. You can also try asking your child the context of their word. So, if they see a butterfly and they say “butterfly” or “yellow butterfly”, you can say “yes, there’s a pretty yellow butterfly flying past the tree”, or ask your child what is the butterfly doing, and build on that. This allows your child to start thinking critically at an age appropriate level, and build on their words based on what they’re seeing
- If you have an infant, it’s ok to baby talk back to them, but only to a certain point. As the parent, you have to constantly be ahead of the learning curve, as you and your child cannot be in the same place when it comes to teaching them speech skills. When a baby uses baby talk, talk back using the correct words, making sure it’s still age appropriate and not too complicated
- Finally, when your toddler is attempting to say something, listen. Show your child that you’re interested in what they have to say. After you have spoken, pause and give your child a chance to respond – they may take a small while but they will respond. In the same vein, look at what is interesting to your child in a given moment – if they are fascinated by a bouncing ball, for example, use it as an opportunity to talk about the ball and the fact that it bounces. Keep talking to your child and they will be well on their way to learning proper speech skills.
Your toddler’s verbal skills are an important and ongoing development in their life, and here at Stone Brook Academy we value your child and the success of their overall lifelong development. If you need more clarification on speech skills and how it effects your toddler, give us at Stone Brook Academy a call.