Toddler Talk: Get your little one to communicate

You and your baby may have had conversations in baby language since he was three months old, but from 12 to 17 months things start to get really exciting. My little guy is adding new words to his vocabulary on a daily basis.

Baby talk from one to two

From around his first birthday, your baby, who is now a toddler and increasingly becoming  independent, may begin to use one or more words and know what they mean. Baby might say his first words at 11 to 14 months when his tongue and lips become more dexterous and his brain starts to match up objects with names. It can be quite a shock when you suddenly realise your baby actually knows what he’s talking about!

At around 15 months they can start using hand gestures to emphasise what they are saying, such as pointing and waving. My son wants to be picked up, points at everything and then asks you Wass this?  He frequently surprises me with his newfound ability to remember words and concepts.

By the time he is two years old, your toddler may be using 50 or more words, as well as basic sentences.

Studies have shown that you can increase the intelligence of your children by talking to them. There is a lot that you can do to help your child get the hang of talking.

How to help your toddler talk

  • Start early – your child’s ears and the part of his brain that responds to sound are well-developed by birth.
  •  Sing to them. Babies love music and this is a great way to introduce new sounds.  My son loves my horrible singing voice and makes as much noise as possible when I sing. 😛
  • Talk to your child as much as possible. The more you talk to him, the more new words he will learn and the better he will get at talking.  It is quite evident that my son picks up words he hears on a regular basis.
  •  Help your toddler make connections between actions and objects. Point at things and tell your toddler what they are. Give everything a name. This will help baby build his vocabulary.  It is a delightful surprise when they start remembering things that you point out to them.
  •  Watch for cues from your child – see what interests him and respond to this.  My boy will usually ask you what he wants to know.
  •  Use short sentences and key words when you talk to your toddler. This will help him focus on the key information.
  • Make time to sit in front of your toddler and talk to him, so that he can watch you talking.
  • Look at books with your toddler regularly. Your toddler will learn by listening to you talk about the pictures. You will also build a lifelong love of books.  Unfortunately my son still tends to eat all his books. 😛
  • Have a dialogue with your baby and be sure to answer when he babbles out of the blue. This will teach him how a conversation works.  Baby loves it when we talk to him and the conversation can become very loud and animated.
  • Play silly games like peekaboo, as this reinforces listening skills and turntaking, which are key skills for holding a flowing conversation.
  • Build your child’s vocabulary when he is slightly older, by asking him to tell you stories. When you took a trip somewhere, ask him to tell you what happened.

Remember, even though there are many things you can do from birth onward to encourage your baby to talk, every child will still reach this milestone at his own pace.

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