Tips to Expand Your Toddler's Language Skills
Created by Sugandha Tiwari Updated on Jan 20, 2020
Now your 2-year-old toddler child has started speaking and is all over exploring every possible thing. He/she is always inquisitive to ask questions. But as a parent, you feel there is more that can be done to expand his/her language. In this process what you as a parent must know is that you can create an abundant world of stimulus for your child to really improve his receptive and expressive language skills. [Know - How Language Develops in Your Child’s Mind?]
What Is Language Development or Growth In 1-3 Year Toddlers?
When your toddler graduates from speaking one or two words to full sentences, it is said that there is a language growth or language expansion in your toddler. Your child right from the day he or she is born is been experiencing a growth in the language. However, you only come to know about it when your child starts speaking.
What Can You Do to Ensure Language Development or Expansion In Your Toddler?
Here, I have a few activities to suggest that really works well if done systematically. Follow these speech & language activities like strategies..
- Pay Attention to Your Toddler: Every time your child starts a conversation, pay attention to him/her. If he speaks just 2 or three words, expand on it. For eg. He/she says "A-Train, you can say, Oh Wow it's a big red colour train, Siddharth also wants to go on a train"? Ask questions, give fillers. It would be great if you can make your tone of voice slightly animated and excited than the usual
- Encourage and praise your toddler's attempts to speak: Always acknowledge, encourage and praise every attempt of speaking
- Don't snub the habit of questioning: Don't stop the habit of asking too many questions. Answer as much as possible in the formative stages
- Keep the excitement alive: Whenever your child sees something for the first time or visits a new place, talk about the place, have as much interaction with your child as possible. Even if your child is not responding at this moment, he/she is listening and is receiving the stimulus
- Follow your child's directions while playing: Encourage your child to give directions, as he/she gives you directions, follow through. For eg. It could be during play if he/she is guiding you to assemble a toy or cook a meal during kitchen set.
- Use lots of verbs and adjectives: Make it a conscious effort to use a lot of verbs, prepositions and adjectives in your sentences, nouns get covered automatically
- Talk as much as you can with your toddler: There are multiple opportunities that you can make use of for language expansion. Talk about things that you are doing, using, eating. For eg. While cleaning your cupboard, talk about the purpose of an almirah, what is the colour of wood/metal, how does it help you to keep your clothes organized etc? If in a kitchen, talk about what you are cooking, its taste, colour, texture, where does it come from, why should we eat that thing and so on
More Ways to Encourage Talking Expansion for Your Toddler
While the above-mentioned points will help in gradually expanding the language in your 1- 3 years toddler, there are few other strategies that you can try to ensure that your toddler picks up language growth in a systematic manner.
- Imitate Your Toddler's Actions: it is a known fact that a child learns by imitating but the child gets encouraged when parents imitate his or her activity. So whatever the action he or she is doing imitate it and then gradually your child will start imitating you thus moving towards complex language development
- Be Commentator During His or Her Play: When your toddler is playing, give an action-by-action account of things he or she is doing, for instance, if he or she is driving the car and then colliding it with another vehicle to cause accident, then say it as it is and then you can add that there is an ambulance coming to take the injured people to the hospital. So while the thought of ambulance and hospital was not on his or her mind, but now that you have said it he or she will do it exactly like that
- Cut-out the Negative Talk: As parents, we are guilty of preaching our child about the right and wrong from them early on, for instance, if the child is colouring a tomato with the blue colour you tend to stop the child and say that no don't use blue as tomato is red colour. Don't tell the child directly what not to do, instead, you can say have you seen a blue tomato?
- Immediate responses to the communication attempt: Immediately respond to your child's attempt to communicate with you. Worry not, if it is just gestures or eye-contact, slowly he or she will move on to the words as well. Your responses though will teach him or her – the importance of communication
- Practice turn-taking: Let your child take turns while playing. For instance, if your child needs help in opening something wait until your child asks you to open it. Now, this can be done either by offering you the thing – then you may ask "what do you want me to do with this?" "Do you want me to open it for you?" That was your turn. Now the child will respond either by nodding his or her head or by saying yes – that is his or her turn. Taking turns also help in developing the language especially when you ask questions
- Don't test the knowledge: If your child knows something – a voice of an animal or how that animal behaves, then don't keep testing it again and again. Instead involve your child differently, for instance, you can say "I wonder what happened to those five little monkeys who were jumping on the bed" you will get a similar response but the child will not feel that he or she is being tested
- Praise specifically: While praising your child for a deed did by him or she praises him or her specifically. For instance, if your toddler has done the colouring without spilling the colour out then praise him or her by saying "Wow, you have done a good job by not spilling the colour"
- Labelling is fun: Even if your toddler is speaking just one or two odd words, you can label the things around him or her like for an instance you can label his or her favourite toy-like "Big Red Truck". Labelling ensures that your child sees, learns and then tries to speak the new words quickly
The teachers and the books will mostly provide what's been there for ages, they have limited ability to weave your child's utterances into strings of words and then form meaningful sentences. Start thinking out of the box and use daily opportunities with the least amount of hard work.
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