Encouraging Your Toddler’s Speech

Very few things are as exciting as hearing Baby’s first words!  Whether it’s “mama”, or “dada”, or even “NO!”, new parents love to hear those first words of communication.  And it can get addicting! You may find yourself wishing to her Bitsy’s chatter all day long — but many times, after the first word or two, it’s a while before you hear another.  So how can you encourage Bitsy to keep growing their language and speech skills?

Ways to Encourage Your Toddler’s Speech

Whether your little one is early, right on time, or even a little behind, there are always ways for you, as parents, to work with them on their communication skills!  Your support and encouragement will positively impact their learning and development. Here are a few strategies to try:

Encourage the non-verbal, too.  When Bitsy begins pointing, shaking their head, or using facial expressions to communicate with you, make sure you reward this behavior as much as you would a new word.  This will show Bitsy that they’re being heard, understood, and listened to, which in turn creates a positive learning environment for them.

 

Encourage baby-signing.  If you haven’t heard of baby sign language yet, now is the time!  Assigning hand motions and gestures to words helps Baby communicate faster and learn what words are!  Check out books like this one to get started.  

 

Add bedtime stories to your nightly routine.  Reading to Bitsy can be one of the absolute best ways to encourage language!  It expands their vocabulary, and by learning the story through hearing it over and over, they’ll begin to associate the language to the written word –encouraging not only speech, but early reading skills, too!

 

Give them opportunities.  Try to ignore the urge to interpret everything your little one does and anticipate their needs.  Instead, place things just out of reach, or “forget” a known part of their routine.  Doing so will give them the space to try communicating the “problem” or issue with you.

 

Give play-by-plays.  As you play with your Bitsy, speak out loud everything both you and Bitsy are doing!  This will help them associate action with words, and will love mimicking and repeating you!

 

No matter when your little one’s speech develops, these tips are great ways to encourage them along the way!  They’ll love the positive reinforcement and support from you, and you’ll help build their vocab, too! One day, you’ll find yourself wondering how you ever went with a quiet moment in the house when all that chatter comes out!