Reading to your children helps them learn language.
Talking to your toddler can be frustrating when all you get in response is a mixture of gestures, grunts and one- or two-word sentences. However, your interactions have a major influence on her speech and language development. Don't bore your child with worksheets or waste your money on educational videos; talking with your child and reading to her are the best ways to build her vocabulary and improve her ability to express herself.
1Narrate your daily routines, such as washing your hands, taking a bath or making dinner. For example, explain "First I am cutting the carrots. Then I will put them in the soup." It may feel strange at first, but remember, you're not just talking to yourself -- it helps your child learn.
2Use short sentences and give one instruction at a time. For instance, ask your child to get his coat, then ask him to choose which pair of boots he wants to wear.
3Build on what your child says. If your child says "Red," for example, say "Yes, the spaghetti sauce is red." This helps kids learn new words.
4Slow down -- especially if you usually talk a mile a minute. Speaking a little slower than normal helps your child understand. Getting your child's attention and ensuring he looks at you when you speak can also improve communication.
5Eat dinner as a family and use the time for conversation. If you're at a loss for words, discuss what you did that day or ask questions that make your child use his imagination, such as "What if our dog could talk? What would he say?" Turn off the television during dinner and try to create a relaxed atmosphere.
6Tell family stories. Storytelling helps your child learn about your family's history, encourages imagination and creates a bonding experience. Tell your kids funny stories of what you did when you were a kid, or tell them about what they did when they were younger. Bring out those embarrassing old photo albums, too!
7Read to your toddler every day. Take breaks to talk about the pictures in the book or what you would do in that situation. Kids can chime in when you read repeating or rhyming books -- don't be afraid to make it silly and fun.
- Keep a positive and relaxed attitude. It's normal if your toddler makes grammatical mistakes or if you can't understand everything he says.
- Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your child's communication skills. Many kids outgrow language problems, but your doctor can determine whether your child needs to see a specialist.