How To Support Your Toddler's Communication

Talking, understanding others and knowing what to say are essential skills for developing children and it allows them to form relationships as well as helping to build self-esteem.

Being able to communicate is the most important of all life skills.  If you're looking to promote your toddler’s communication skills, here are some proven techniques for developing your child's speech and language.

How to support your toddler's communication.

  1. Read to your child.

    It is never too early to start reading to your child - in fact, the earlier the better. Start with board books and pop up books before moving on to picture books with bright and bold illustrations and try to establish a bedtime story routine every night.

  2. Keep sentences short.

    Use simple language with your child. For example, when making breakfast, list the tools you will need and how you will use them or list clothing items and body parts when you help your child get dressed in the morning and before bed. 

  3. Remove the soother.

    Not literally. If your toddler is using a soother encourage them not to use it when they are alert and content. Children with a dummy in their mouth are unable to move their tongues properly if they are trying to communicate while using one at the same time. 

  4. Give your child enough time.

    Children need longer than adults to formulate responses so make sure you allocate extra time for their answers to questions you might ask them.  How To Support Your Toddler

  5. Limit distractions.

    Make it easy for them to listen and understand by turning off the radio, tv or any devices you may have. This will allow your child to focus on their words without distractions. 

  6. Don't pretend to understand them.

    If you don't understand what your child is trying to communicate to you, encourage them to show you with gestures rather than pretending to know what they are trying to say. 

  7. Get their full attention.

    While promoting speech and language development, it is extremely important to get your child's full attention. To do this, get down to their level and be face-to-face with them. 

  8. Make learning language fun.

    Children learn through play so keep it simple with fun games and imaginative play in a bid to encourage as many words as possible. Try to spend at least thirty minutes a day playing with your child without distractions. 

  9. Listen to them.

    And finally, one of the key ways of developing children's speech and language skills is by listening to how they say things and modelling the correct word without correcting them. For example, if your child says they like the colour "wed", model the correct word by saying "oh, I like the colour red too!"

Kellie Kearney

Kellie Kearney is a Dublin mammy of five kids aged newborn right up to nine. She loves coffee, cloth nappies, travel and sharing her every day true to life family moments on Instagram.

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