How much should my Toddler be talking?
Many parents question “How much should my child be talking? They are unsure what consists of a “word” and what is babbling. Language development happens in at different age groups and stages. How much should my toddler be talking can be explained in stages. Everything doesn’t happen at one exact age but a range of ages.
As a Special Education teacher who works in Early Intervention, I discuss stages of language on a daily basis. Between the ages of 18- 24 months your Toddlers language development is increasing. This age span is where you will see the most abundance of language. Your child will start repeating words frequently.
At this stage, “word” does not have its traditional definition. A toddler’s word for an object may not found in the dictionary. Other people may not know what the child is asking for either. This is all typical.
What I mean by “word” is what the child uses for a specific item consistently. As long as your child says their “word” for a certain item and doesn’t use it for anything else then it is a “word”. For example- My son would say “wawa” when he was asking for water. He used this word consistently for water and didn’t use it for anything else.
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You do want regular words in the mix as well, but don’t discount their atypical “words”. Children will start to put two words together. It will be a phrase, not a sentence. Example – “more cookie” or ” clean up”. Around 2 years-old your child will be saying more of a sentence. They will use proper words combined with their words to express
themselves and ask questions. Toddler’s at this stage have more of an understanding about a conversation and want to join in with you. They can now use language to make choices and express feelings.
Click here to get your FREE copy of the language development chapter in the Toddler Enrichment Ebook. Stages of Language Development chart included.
Two is a great age in regards to language and personality. Your child can understand what you say, tell you what they want and what they don’t. They will also start to demonstrate their personality. Children will understand when things are funny. It’s a great time watching their personality develop.
Try to avoid comparing your toddler’s language with that of other children. Some children’s language skills progress steadily over long periods of time. Others develop large vocabularies in a few months. Remember, stages of early development is when milestones are reached and is not the same for every child. You are looking at the range.
For more information on Toddler Language Development, and all things Toddler be sure to look at the Toddler Enrichment Ebook. End your online search for toddler information and daily activities.
How to Encourage your Toddler to Talk
Parents have a major impact on their kid’s language development. When kids start school, they are expected to have a strong vocabulary. This foundation starts at home. As parents, we want to encourage language right from the start.
With your baby, you want to narrate your day. Talk about what you are doing all the time. This is the first step of language. They listen to you and get used to your voice. Children are introduced to new words. If I was in the food store, I would talk about what I need to buy and what was in each aisle. As you get them dressed announce a play-by-play. Talk, talk and continue to talk each day.
As your baby is getting older you want to give them cues to help them talk. Prompt them to fill in. Sing songs or read a favorite book and stop, wait for your toddler to fill in the word. If you have a book you read every day and songs you sing, your child will know what comes next. They will get excited to fill in the word and be a part of the conversation.
Reading to your child is one of the best ways to encourage language. Reading will help build vocabulary. Have books in every room so it’s not hard for them to find one. Even before you read the book you can discuss the pictures. First, you point to the cow and then you ask your child “point to the cow or where is the cow.” They can interact and answer before they have the actual words.
You can also pause a favorite show when a question is asked. Have them answer the question. Example: Mickey Mouse says “Do you want to come inside?” Stop the show and ask your child the question. Then they have a moment to think that it was a question for them and that it’s ok to answer. After they answer, put the TV back on. This interaction is vital for increasing language.
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Repetition is key. You may feel that you are saying the same thing over and over, but that’s ok. Children learn from repetition. By hearing a word multiple times it helps them remember that word and what it is associated with.
Build on what your child says. If they say “bird” you say “Yes, the bird is flying.” This way you are confirming they are correct and expanding on what they said to introduce more vocabulary. Don’t criticize their efforts. Give your child simple 1-step and then 2-step directions to follow throughout the day. One step direction would be “get the car”. An
example of a two-step direction is “get the car and put away. This helps them to understand the meaning of words and being able to comprehend what you are asking.
Your child wants to be a part of the conversation. Help them join in whatever way they can.
Toddler Language Development Activities
- Work on simple imitation
- Narrate your day
- Play Music
- Read books
- Sing Songs
- Back and forth interaction
- Repetition, Repetition
- Build on what your child says to make a sentence but don’t criticize
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