As a toddler, your child is starting to master language. You can encourage toddler talking skills with everyday play ideas – listening to your child, chatting together, singing and telling stories.About toddler talkingYour toddler’s language will start to ‘explode’ soon, although your child has been learning about words, sounds and back-and-forth conversations since birth.
You can keep encouraging toddler talking by singing, saying nursery rhymes, talking, reading and telling stories.
What to expect: toddler talkingYour toddler will probably start to:
By the age of three, your child will probably move on to simple sentences, like ‘Where doggie gone?’ By now strangers will probably be able to understand most of what your child says, even though he’ll still struggle to express some words clearly.
Talking can be frustrating for toddlers – they can have so much to tell you but can’t quite get the words out. If you give your toddler time, she’ll get there eventually. Trying and making mistakes are important parts of learning.
Toddlers respond best to encouragement and interest, rather than correction or being made fun of, so try to avoid correcting your toddler’s mistakes too often.
Learning to talk is a complex skill. When you’re helping your child express himself, try to focus on having fun together, rather than seeing it as just a teaching opportunity.Play ideas to encourage toddler talkingThe more words you expose your child to, the more words she’ll learn. Here are some play ideas to encourage toddler talking:
Screen time isn’t recommended for children under 18 months, other than video-chatting. After 18 months, your child can have some screen time, but it’s best to watch or play with your child.
Long periods of screen time have been associated with a range of health issues in toddlers and preschoolers, as well as the slower development of language skills, short-term memory and poorer social skills.
Concerns about toddler talkingIf at 18 months your toddler isn’t babbling often, isn’t using meaningful words or doesn’t seem to hear you or listen when others are talking, it’s a good idea to see a GP, paediatrician or child and family health nurse.
You might also want to see a child health professional or talk to your child’s carer or early childhood educator if you can’t understand your child’s speech by the time she’s three, or if she still isn’t speaking much by this age.