How to boost your toddler’s language development

As a parent, you play huge in your child’s speech and language development. By working with them at an early age, you’re setting them up for success later in life. Here are simple, daily activities you can do to help your child learn and grow their vocabulary. 

1. Start talking!

A good place to start is to constantly narrate your day and actions when you’re around your child. Even if they don’t fully understand, they’re still learning and picking up new vocabulary words. Speak to them as if you’re telling the story about your day: “Now it’s time we take  a bath so we can get dressed in our jammies and get ready for bed!”

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2. Break out the books

Don’t take story time for granted. Whether it’s a simple board or a whimsical fantasy children’s story, the simple act of reading does wonders for your child’s development (even beginning at the newborn stage!). It helps them tie words to images and learn about the foundation of language. If your little one is older, point to the pictures and say the corresponding words repeatedly. 

3. Add music to your day

Yes, even “The Wheels on the Bus” is educational! Turning on fun nursery rhymes helps children learn about the rhythm of language and imagery. The repetitive yet slow nature of the songs makes it easy for children to learn.

4. Teach them simple actions

When your child is younger, teach them how to clap their hands or play peek-a-boo. You’re teaching them what to do through words. As they get older, you can teach them the power of choice. Do you want an orange or an apple? Both of these examples help children understand actions have words and will help them develop the ability to communicate their needs. 

5. Use complete sentences

If your toddler only uses short sentences, even as simple as “No,” use this opportunity to communicate back in a complete sentence. If they say no to your offer of apple juice, respond with “You don’t want the apple juice? I will put the apple juice away.” 

6. Have fun

Learning language doesn’t have to be all business. At this stage, you’ll want to support your child and make sure he or she feels confident in their learning. Play a few language-learning games like I-Spy or this fun ABC matching activity. 

7. Use photo books to tell a story

While it’s important to expose your little one to different illustrations and stories, sometimes the best stories are the ones that come straight from your camera roll. Create a Tinybeans photo book with photos of your toddler, family, relatives, and special events or vacations you all have experienced. Your child will recognize the book’s subjects and you can spend time talking about each photo with them.

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