Toddler Speech: 5 Easy Ways to Encourage Your Toddler To Speak


By K L Fox

As toddler babblings gradually turn into real words, do you wonder what more you can do to encourage your toddler to speak? Here are 5 tips to promote your toddler’s emerging talking ability:

1 – Read to your toddler: Have storytime with your little one as often as you can. Make reading with your little one fun and interactive. You can point to pictures and ask your toddler to name them. Help your toddler out if he/she doesn’t answer. Ex: “What’s this?… Is this a puppy?” You can also ask your toddler to point to a specific object in the picture. Ex: “Where’s the puppy? Can you point to the puppy?”

2- Make sounds with your toddler: Help your child gain pronunciation skills by making sounds with your toddler. Make all sorts of sounds. Imitate cars, trucks, clocks, planes, phones, timers, animals, doors, etc.

3- Ask “or” questions: Give your toddler a choice between two things and wait for an answer. If your little one points or gestures rather than answering verbally, answer the question yourself. Ex: “Do you want to read a book or play with a ball?” “You pointed to the ball. Let’s play ball!” “Do you want milk or water?” “You’re reaching for the milk. Let’s get you a cup of milk!”

4- Teach some signs: Sign language can actually help your toddler develop language skills. Knowing a few signs also gives your child a way to communicate with you and may reduce the frustration that comes from misunderstandings. Some parents worry their toddlers will choose to sign rather than speak. This is not usually the case. Often a toddler will give up the sign of a word once he/she can say the word consistently.

5- Narrate your toddler’s day: Talk to your toddler throughout the day about all the things your toddler experiences. There are so many things you can talk about. Talk about breakfast, talk about toys, talk about the neighbor’s barking dog! Remember to take advantage of the times it’s easy to get your toddler’s attention too, like during a grocery shopping trip or a drive in the car. Then talk about the things you two experience together. Doing this will help build your child’s vocabulary. Remember to listen for and acknowledge all of your toddler’s comments too, even if they’re not true words. Let your toddler participate in and enjoy your conversations together!

With these five tips you’ll soon discover that encouraging your toddler’s emerging speech can be easy and rewarding!

For more tips on encouraging your toddler to speak, visit the behavior/development section at This website also has tips and tricks on other topics including toddler nutrition, potty training, toddler activities, preventing tantrums, transitioning from a crib to bed, brushing teeth, toddler discipline and more!

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