Might as well get him used to talking on the phone early...
In the few short years it takes for your baby to turn from a toddler into a preschooler, he does a lot more than just learn how to walk. He also learns to communicate his needs through language, going from babbling to telling you his favorite part of the story you just read. To help your toddler speak, you need to create a language-rich environment. In many ways, you'll probably just be extending many of the things you did when your toddler was a baby.
1Speak "parentese." Parentese is the scientific term for the language used when adults talk to babies. It features real words said in an elongated, high-pitched tone.
2Label appropriately. Instead of pointing out objects to your kiddo, follow his interests. If he is staring at the garbage truck, tell him what that is -- don't try to draw his attention to the flower.
3Play together. Get down on the floor and interact with your toddler and his world.
4Use language frames. "Look at the ______!" is a language frame; you can fill in any one of a million new words, and your toddler will have a frame of reference for it.
5Ask for repeats. When your toddler is learning a new word, ask him to repeat it in context. If he said "milk" this morning at breakfast, point at the milk and ask him what it is when you open the fridge for snack.
6Imitate. If your toddler isn't talking yet, try imitating the sounds he does make. See if you can get him to imitate your sounds, and then you can move on to words.
7Don't read your toddler's mind. Yes, of course you can tell that your 2 year old desperately wants the cookie you're holding. Encourage him to say it anyway. When that's easy for him, you can move on to "please."
- Toddlers develop at different rates; don't stress out if your neighbor's toddler talks in full sentences and yours is struggling with two-word phrases. Your kid is probably ahead in other areas.
- If you feel like your toddler isn't making progress in speaking or you have some other language concerns, talk to your child's pediatrician. She can refer you to a speech pathologist to see if speech therapy is needed.