Talking Tots: Toddler Language Development Activities
Did you just sleep through the night?
Then it’s official, your baby is no longer a baby! By 12 months what was once your little bundle of joy has grown into a walking, talking toddler. The toddler age range is 12 to 36 months and this is the time parents step-up the toddler language development activities. While each toddler progresses differently, language development milestones are used as a general guideline for both parents and professionals. Some toddlers reach these milestones early and some reach them later. With milestones it’s important for your toddler to progress from one stage to the next at a steady pace.
Over the next couple of years your toddler’s vocabulary should expand rapidly. As a parent, you can’t help, but worry or compare what your child is doing to other children the same age. This is especially true of language development. It’s also common for toddlers to hit certain milestones quickly and lag behind in others. To get a better idea of which language development milestones your toddler should be reaching during certain months, look at a breakdown of speech milestones from infancy to preschool.
Wondering about your toddler’s language?
Do you have this nagging feeling that your toddler isn’t progressing in speech and language? Many parents worry about the headway their child is making with vocabulary. Even more so if they’re not following the language development milestones perfectly. Other parents, family members and friends may try to reassure you that every child develops at their own pace, but for your own reassurance take a look at common language development warning signs.
If your child is showing warning signs of language delay it’s time to discuss your concerns with your toddler’s pediatrician. It never hurts to “err on the side of caution” when it comes to your toddler’s development. Even if your pediatrician isn’t fully convinced of a possible delay, ask to be referred to a pediatric speech language pathologist for an evaluation. Your pediatrician will have this information on hand or be able to point you in the right direction. You can also do a little digging yourself and look at the Speech Buddies Connect directory of certified therapists in your area.
Try these Toddler Language Development Activities:
Children of parents who are proactive in their learning from the beginning are more likely to meet toddler language milestones. To help your toddler reach language development milestones you can incorporate several things throughout the course of your day or week:
- Start by giving your toddler words for feelings. If your child is frustrated when they’re not able to do something they want you can introduce words, like “angry” or “mad.”
- Pretend playing with your toddler is a great way to incorporate help with normal developmental milestones in language. Not only is this fun for your toddler and you, but you can use it as an opportunity to introduce new words and phrases. If your toddler is playing with dolls and says “Dolly tired” you can reply and say “Dolly is tired and needs to sleep in her bed.”
- Reading a variety of books to your child will also help with speech development milestones. Try reading several nonfiction books about ABCs, rhyming and even books about animals. While your child may pick favorite books for you to read over and over, adding a little variety here and there will introduce different words and sentences.
At this age your toddler wants to play and have fun. As a parent you can find teachable moments throughout your day and while you’re playing. It’s important to avoid overwhelming your toddler with new words and high expectations, even if you feel they are behind in their milestones. A toddler will show more improvement when they are fully engaged with an activity. Keeping playtime simple, making eye contact when introducing new words and having fun during reading time is an excellent way to improve those language development milestones.
What techniques do you use to help your toddler reach their speech development milestones?