How do I develop my toddlers language skills?

This is a question I get asked a lot.

We all know not to compare our kids (or ourselves) but it still happens. Must be something about being human. But I hear parents of young children (typically between 18 months and 3 years) who find themselves with a little one who may not be doing things the same as their friends kids / sibling / cousin…and they wonder…what can I be doing?

There is a lot I can share to answer that question because it is one of my passions in life – helping little people find their voice. Giving them some self-determination.

But here would be 3 of my top tips to support toddler language development.

1. Serve and return… when your child communicates with you (word, gesture, sign, eye gaze whatever they do) then respond to them…. so we want to have conversations… turn taking. It is a bit like a game of tennis and the more turns you can each have the stronger the impact on language development.

2. Follow their lead… let them lead the conversation so you are talking about what they are interested in…

Let’s say you are having a tea party.
I would have my own baby and then I would copy what the child is doing… so let’s say he is feeding the baby. I would feed my baby and I would say “baby hungry, my baby hungry”… then pause and see if he joins in.

3. Add words… if your toddler is using no words you give him single words… if he is at two word phrases you give him three and so on. Add the words for them to hear, copy and learn.

 

Here is a video I did sharing why the first three years are so important from the perspective of brain development.