There are two things that parents don’t want to miss in their baby’s life: first word and first step. While parents are pretty sure that their child will learn to walk one or another day, there is lots of worry about whether or not their little one will start talking at the right age. With that in mind, here I’m presenting ten simple strategies that will help your toddler learn to talk easily, clearly, and early!
1. Communicate Early
From the time your baby is born, he has a keen interest in knowing about what’s happening around him. Even though he is too young to communicate, it’s very important you begin talking to your little one using gestures. No matter your infant reacts to your gestures or not, talking to him before he begins vocalizing his needs will definitely improve his ability to communicate with you. Wouldn’t it be a good start for your little bundle of joy?
2. Talk to Your Child Often
Talk as often and as much as you can to your little one because it is one of the most effective ways to encourage speech and language development in toddlers. Think of it as a general rule which says – the more you talk to your child, the more words he receives exposure to. Take full advantage of this golden opportunity and have a chat with your child whenever you get the chance to. The best would be to talk about the things he’s really interested in.
3. Extend Your Child’s Vocabulary
While you’re trying to teach your child how to talk, you cannot underestimate the power and importance of vocabulary development. A comprehensive vocabulary not only provides your baby the ability to express himself but also it improves all areas of his communication. To help build your tot’s vocabulary, narrate your actions and point out objects with words. Soon you’ll be surprised to see that your child has started speaking some of those words!
4. Encourage Face to Face Interaction
When you’re talking to your little cherub, try to maintain ample eye contact with him. Seeing your facial expression as you talk will help your child understand that words aren’t just sounds; they’re a bridge for communication between two people. This will increase the overall effectiveness of the communication and also encourage your child to improve on it. If you’re out and about, make sure to either carry your baby in a front sling or use a parent-facing stroller to keep face-to-face communication alive for your munchkin.
5. Read to Your Child
Reading out to your child is another effective way to help him quickly develop speech, comprehension, and vocabulary. Of course, your little poppet won’t be able to understand what you’re saying, but he’ll definitely get inspired to join in and read with you. As your baby is too young at this age, it’s recommended you use large, colorful picture books to make him familiar with different objects, elements, and words.
6. Speak Slowly and Clearly
Be aware of the speed at which you talk to your sidekick. To help your child better listen and understand what you’re trying to say, you’ll need to get down on your child’s level rather than using your original rate of speech. Speak each word slowly and clearly and avoid omitting unnecessary words. Also, don’t forget to repeat your words whenever your little one says something incorrectly. This will encourage your child to communicate with you!
7. Respond Immediately to Your Baby’s Babbling
Whenever your little munchkin babbles to you, babble back to him instantly. As babbling simply means your child wants to initiate the conversation, not responding to him positively may discourage him from doing it again. No matter how gibberish your tot sounds, always respond to his gurgle, cry and coo. Mimic the sounds of his noises and your baby will start babbling more and more – which is a good sign of a successful communication.
8. Play With Your Child
Given that playtime is the time when children best express themselves, you’re suggested to play with your little one whenever possible. Encourage your baby to indulge in pretend games – like peek-a-boo and hide & seek – as you never know how beneficial these games are in your toddler’s brain and speech development. Remember, children learn best when you teach them something in a natural, meaningful and playing environment.
9. Limit Screen Time
If you think your little one can learn a lot about language by watching cartoons and movies on TV, smartphones, tablets, and iPads, you’re absolutely wrong. Since experts argue that watching screens of any form can have a detrimental effect on a newborn’s language development, you must not introduce your baby to gadgets until he turns two years old. Later on, you can slowly introduce your child to his favorite screen but make sure to limit the screen time 30 minutes a day.
10. Relax and Be Patient
Learning a language takes time and therefore, you should be patient with your baby’s speed and ability to comprehend grammar and vocabulary. Every child learns a language at his own speed and it may be that your baby will take even more time. So, instead of getting frustrated on why your toddler is not uttering everything, be patient and give him adequate time to grasp the nitty-gritty of language development. And if despite all your efforts, your child finds it difficult to pick up his verbal skills, you should immediately consult a speech and language professional.