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Get Your Toddler To Talk With These Easy Everyday Activities You Can Do Right Now
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  • Children begin to develop language beginning from the baby years and by two years old, the new CDC guidelines says children should be able to say two words together (for example, “More milk”.)

    With most Filipino children having less personal interactions in the past two years due the lockdowns of the pandemic, more and more parents are ensuring that their children are hitting their developmental milestones. One of the main concerns is language development.

    Below are eight things parents can do to encourage their toddlers to talk more:

    8 Habits Parents Can Adopt To Help A Toddler’s Language Development

    1. Talk through your routines.

    Bridget Hillsberg and Brooke Dwyer, sisters and speech therapists behind Speech Sisters say that the repetitive nature of daily routines can help kids learn words and to talk. “You do the same actions to complete each routine, so each time you can use the same [words], they advise on a recent Instagram reel on how to get kids to talk.

    “Repeat the same words during the same routines every day, they write on the reel. They add in the caption, “Daily routines can also include lots of functional language (words that can get your child’s needs and wants met).”

    “When a toddler can use words to get their needs and wants met, often time we see a decrease in speech-related frustrations/tantrums.

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    You can try: "Let’s talk a bath” or “Maliligo ka na”. Name body parts when you are soaping them, head, arms, tummy, legs, feet or ulo, braso, tiyan, binti, paa.

    It can feel funny and even tiresome to narrate what you are doing, especially when pressed for time, but remember the daily repetition helps them become familiarized with words they can use later on.

    2. Observe what they are doing and ask them about it.

    Australian parenting website Raising Children advises to see what kind of play your child is interested in and then talk to them about it.

    “Respond to and talk about your child’s interests. An example is “if your child is pretending to drive a car, ask your child where they’re going.”

    You can also describe what is happening during your playtime. “Push the ball back to mommy!” Another one is, “You caught the ball!”

    Describe their favorite toys: blue ball, hard block, soft bear.

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    3. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

    Do you notice how children’s content repeats certain words in every sentence? Repetition helps kids learn words so they can say it back.

    Here’s an example for an every day situation: “I have more milk. Do you want more milk? Let’s put more milk in your cup!” That’s repeating the word ‘more’ three times in a row.

    4. Provide the words for what they need.

    Toddlers learn to ask for their needs through actions and it’s a prime opportunity to learn functional language. If your child:

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    • Tugs on your pants to be picked up
    • Shakes or nods their head
    • Reaches for something they want
    • Jumps up and down if they are excited
    • Cries if a toy breaks or they hurt themselves

    These are the moments to encourage toddlers to use words, says Raising Children. You can repeat back to them what you think they need.

    • You want me to carry you? Gusto mo kargahin kita?
    • You don’t want to eat it? Ayaw mo itong kainin?
    • Do you want your red car? Gusto mo ba kunin ko yung laruan mong red car?
    • You look excited! Mukhang masaya ka!
    • Are you sad? Malungkot ka ba?

    5. Talk about real, meaningful things.

    Janet Lansbury, author and founder of respectful parenting says that instead of pointing to objects and telling toddlers what it is, talk about it. “You pushed that ball!” is an example.

    “Babies learn best, as we all do, when they care, she says in her website. It would matter more to a child that he pushed the ball than the ball itself.

    Lansbury also says she does not suggest narrating everything. “The best way to gauge whether or not to comment while our child is engaged in an activity is to wait for him or her to communicate an interest in our response, she says. 

    Parents will know when kids are interested in their response: when their young child looks at them.

    RELATED: 5 Expert-Backed Tips to Improve Your Toddler's Speech Development

    6. Read books and tell stories responsively.

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    Lansbury says reading responsively simply means setting aside any agenda. Sometimes young children will want to stay on a page, go back, or turn a book upside down. If you can’t read the words on the page, talk to your child about what she sees.

    Raising Children advises reading books with word patterns, rhymes, and colorful pictures. Some examples are Eric Carle books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Baby Beluga, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and pictures by Clement Hurd, Love You Forever written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw, Leslie Patricelli books and Dr. Seuss books.

    7. Give your child choices.

    If your child is dressing up, ask them to choose between two things. “We are going outside. Do you want to wear your red shirt or your blue shirt?” “Lalabas tayo. Alin ang gusto mong suotin, yung red t-shirt o yung blue t-shirt?”

    8. Sing and recite nursery rhymes.

    Remember all the Cocomelon songs that you can hear in your sleep? Sing it with your kids or recite it. “This helps your child understand different word sounds–and it’s fun,” says Raising Children.

    However this is different from leaving the child to watch for hours on end even if it is nursery rhymes. Try switching to listening to the songs instead of watching. You can also sing with them during daily activities like bath time, or cleaning up their toys.

    MORE ABOUT GETTING TODDLERS TO TALK:

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