Talking Toddlers

clip 130Your child seems to be at an age where they should be talking. When your child first learns to talk, they go through a series of stages. As a parent or caregiver it is your job to help the child learn and understand our language. At first, imitate. Not necessarily saying words, but doing actions. Your child will learn to imitate those actions such as: puffing your cheeks full of air, clapping your hands, and playing peek a boo. The second stage is Motor imitation using toys and household objects. This means play with your child using things around the house. Put a block in a cup, stir with a spoon, or brush your teeth. Your child will pick up on these actions and practice them alongside you.  The third part is transitioning from motor to sound imitation. It is often helpful to associate an action with a sound in order to focus the child’s attention on imitating sounds. For example: uncover your eyes and verbally say “peek”, wave and say “bye-Bye”, rub your stomach and say “mmmm”.  If your child is not imitating speech sounds, try starting with non-speech sounds such as: blowing – as in blowing bubbles, sneezing – exaggerate the sneeze both with sound and action, or smacking your lips – as to kiss or make smacking sounds. As your child continues to imitate your actions and sounds, the words will soon start to come.  Some early single words your child may say include: apple, soup, banana, head, nose, TV, keys, sock, tree, ball, daddy, more, on/off, oh-oh, and nite nite. Remember that your child is learning these words, so they may not sound exactly like they should. For example, banana may be ‘nana’, tree may be ‘tee’, and ball may be ‘baaa’.  Keep encouraging your toddler to talk, regardless of how it is sounding. The more practice they have with correct word usage, the easier it will be to say the words.

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