They say boys develop at a different pace to girls and speech is usually one of the later things to happen, as well as toilet training apparently. I’m not worried that at just two years old Teddy has only just started putting a few words together and although a lot of his words I can understand, not everyone can. I am 100% encouraging his speech though and thought I’d share a few things we’ve picked up to help us encourage talking with 6 tips to get your toddler talking!
1.We describe everything. I mean everything. Look at the man laughing, see the bird flying, see the black dog barking, look at the cat sleeping, mummy’s cooking dinner, Hugo’s eating his dinner, let’s get dressed, socks go on, one sock, two socks. It’s not difficult for me because I’m a bit of a chatterbox anyway, which is good! We talk about games he plays on his iPad, Mr Tumble on TV, everything.
2. Ask questions. Is the radio loud? Where’s Woody? Is that a blue crayon, can you say blue? Where’s Hugo? Has Hugo gone? I’m not expecting answers to my questions although I do sometimes get them and sometimes he says words back to me but I want him to hear the difference in my voice when I’m asking a question.
3.Avoid baby talk. This is my pet peeve. Apart from copying coos and gurgles and repeating mama and dada I have never used baby talk. Since they were tiny babies I have spoken to both Teddy and Harry like I’d speak to any other person. I change the tone, speak more clearly and softly but a dog is not a doggie, a duck is not a quack quack and dinner is not din dins. Children understand a lot more than we think from a young age so we just use simple but real language.
4.Show me. Teddy can’t always tell me what he wants so I ask him to show me. It saves a lot of frustration, on both parts, which is great but when he does I also say what he’s showing me, ‘oh you’d like a yoghurt?’ ‘you want your shoes on?’ ‘you’re telling mummy Hugo’s sleeping!’ It’s a great way to get your toddler talking because they love to copy and will soon be repeating what you say when they know it gets them what they want or need!
5.Make it fun. Another great way to get your toddler talking is to make it fun. Today we played with a puzzle I bought at the weekend. Just one of those wooden shape puzzles, tiger in the tiger shaped space, monkey in the monkey shaped space. He loves them anyway but this one was a bit different, there was no picture where the animal should go, just the shape of the animal so it was a little more difficult than normal. We played it more than 20 times and every time he’d finished he’d say ‘again’ and I’d tip the board backwards so he couldn’t see and when it came back flat it was empty! He loved it. I named all the animals as he picked them up then when he started repeating (or if he didn’t I’d say, can you say zebra?) I’d say pink bird or tall bird or small bird. 10 minutes playing together and he was saying tiger, attempting crocodile and making monkey noises with actions! We also use flash cards. Find the sheep, you say sheep. You can find the post where we made these printables here if you’d like to use something like this too!
6.Teddy has a dummy. I’m in no rush to get rid of it as it really helps comfort him while he’s teething (all 4 big back teeth right now!) but if we’re talking, or really any chance I get, I ask him to take his dummy out and tell me what he’s saying. ‘mummy can’t understand you with your dummy in’. A new trick is putting his dummy in his pocket! He forgets about it and will have long (mostly jibberish!) conversations with me without it!
I’m sure there’s loads of other things we do, or that we don’t do that others do and Pinterest is such a massive resource for things like this. If you have a Pinterest board you think I’d love send me a link on there and follow along on mine if you’d like to see what I find!