Let’s get one thing straight- You are a great parent! Why else would you be looking up ways to get your toddler talking?! Nobody does that except for amazing parents who care about their child’s development! From naps to snacks to they can’t sleep without 2 lovies in the crib and their white noise playing (that’s our little guy), you probably know what your little one wants and expects during the day. This is good…we can use that!
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably got some concerns about your older baby or toddler’s speech. Maybe you’ve started speech therapy, maybe you’re considering it, or maybe you just want to know if there’s anything you can try before your little one gets behind with his or her speech. The strategies I provide in this series will not take the place of speech therapy if your child truly needs it, but I can give you some tips for building language and things you can do at home that would complement speech services. And the great news is- you can do these as you go about your daily routines…in fact they will probably be more effective if you use them in your daily routines instead of trying to set up some “special” new activity! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Babies and toddlers learn best through repetition and routine!
Some kids learn to talk very easily, while others need you to give them a little push. So what we want to do is think about those times during the day that you give them what they want or expect, and those are going to be the times when the strategies I provide work the best! Our goal is to just slow down those moments so they have to wait a little longer than they’re used to to get these things.
This brings me to today’s strategy…
I almost always coach families through this one during our first session, and have them focus on it all week. It’s a great way to start building language skills for babies and toddlers! The idea is simple, and there are really two key parts to this.
Part one: you pick a daily routine (I.e. snack time) and name everything 3-5 times before your little one gets it. So it may start with putting him or her in the high chair. You could say “let’s sit in your high chair” (pick them up but don’t put them in yet) “your high chair” (point to it) “high chair” (smile and start putting them in) “you’re getting in your high chair” (buckling) “there we go…high chair“. You’ll do the same thing as you give them their drink, and each bit of their snack. Make sure you say the key word slowly and with emphasis each time. And try to use it on its own as well as in simple phrases and sentences. Sounds easy enough, right?
Part two is just holding everything up to your mouth while you name it. This draws your child’s attention to your face and mouth so he or she can see how you’re forming the word. It also teaches your little one to look at you when he or she wants to know what something is. I know what you’re thinking- “how am I supposed to put my child’s high chair next to my mouth???”. Don’t worry, you’re not! For things that are large, heavy, alive, etc. you’ll simply point to your mouth as you name them. I tend to put my index finger right under my bottom lip or by the corner of my lips so the child has an unobstructed view. Again we want him or her to see how you’re forming the word. Try to do this every one of those 3-5 times you name something.
This probably sounds pretty easy…But my challenge to you is to pick a daily routine, and to use this naming strategy EVERY DAY during the same routine for a week. I think you’ll be surprised by how challenging it is!
My goal is to have a new strategy posted for y’all weekly, with a fun post (Holiday toys for speech, etc) posted in between. We’ll see how it actually plays out! Hope everyone enjoyed their last weekend before the holiday craziness!!