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How to Turn Your Toddler’s Sounds into Words
Is your young one at a stage when "talking" sounds are mainly nonsense, yet are occasionally becoming words? This is actually a transition stage of language development that you can help accelerate. And you can have fun doing it!
Learning to communicate is a skill that begins naturally from the very beginning, with reaction utterances and facial expressions. Then come gestures and limb movements. At some point in time, and that time varies from child to child, words – or what sounds like words – start to emerge. This is when you step in and get the conversations going.
Speech-language experts offer a few tips and tricks that motivate the learning process, and all involve spending some quality time engaging with your toddler. Here are a few of them:
Story Book Time
This is a time-honoured opportunity for parents to both entertain and teach their children. It’s also a great way to build vocabulary and understanding. A fun tip is to read the story in the voices of the characters. This captures your child’s attention and inspires the imagination, which makes Story Book Time an occasion to look forward to.
>As you are engaging with your child in these moments, don’t worry about reading every word, the experts say. Explain the actions of the narrative by pointing to pictures, asking questions and making comments. Start a sentence and allow your child to fill in the blanks, encouraging the connection between the story and spoken words.
Talk As You Go
Whether you are playing with your toddler or taking her with you as you carry on your day, have conversations. As you play together, ask questions. Try to get your toddler to explain how and what she wants to play. If she wants to place a horse in a tree, ask how it climbed way up there. As your buying your groceries, turn it into a tour of questions or comments about the produce or items on the shelves.
Try to make every talk with your toddler a two-way conversation. When you say something or make a comment, give her the opportunity to make a comment of her own. This also demonstrates that you believe what your toddler has to say is important, which further encourages her to speak.
Break a Routine
And don’t be afraid to be a little silly! Imagine doing something that obviously bends the rules of your normal behaviour – "mistaking" a bib for a hat? Do something that your toddler will see as something "wrong" and maybe, besides encouraging a chuckle, she’ll point out the mistake with a word or two.
All of these tips and tricks involve good fun and great engagement with your toddler. Learning to talk is an important milestone, but it’s also your opportunity to get to know each other. A beautiful time to embrace the bond between parent and child.