Toddlers have a wide variation in speech patterns and development. Tempting as it can be, refrain from comparing your toddler’s speech to your neighbor’s, his cousin’s, or kids on TV. If you suspect that your tot is delayed in his speech development, speak to his pediatrician about what’s normal and if any intervention is necessary rather than making your own diagnosis with your friends over coffee.
Talk, Talk, Talk
Spend as much time talking with your child as possible. Talk about the weather, her outfit, her schedule for the day — anything you can think of. Ask questions of your toddler as well even if you can’t always understand the answers he gives you. This will encourage dialogue and help him understand the give and take of having a conversation.
Reading to kids can help their speech and future literacy. Pick either pop-up or picture books for toddlers. Explain what’s happening in the story and ask your tot simple questions about the story such as what different objects are, what color a character’s hair is or what she thinks is going to happen next. Toddlers often enjoy stories that rhyme and wanting to join in the sing-song pattern of rhyming stories can encourage speech. It’s fine if kids want to hear the same stories over and over even if you feel as if reading the one with the pigs and the wolf one more time will make you lose your mind.
Singing to your child can encourage speech, suggests Edu Guide. Simple, repetitive songs are easy for toddlers to pick up on and try to copy. You can incorporate singing into your day by singing with your toddler in the car (Sing-a-long CDs for children are relatively inexpensive), during bath time and before bed at night. He will enjoy learning songs you learned as a child.
Bring your child around other kids to encourage speech in a late-talker. Arrange play dates with the children of your friends or family members or seek out nearby mom/tot groups that have regular playgroups for kids. Library story time is also an easy way to socialize your toddler with others in the same age range.
If you’re still concerned with your toddler’s speech, or if she doesn’t seem to be progressing even with concerted effort, consult your pediatrician. Many kids will catch up to their peers all on their own, but your child’s doctor will have a better idea if your child’s speech is just a little behind or if there could be other problems such as hearing loss.