5 fun things to do to help toddlers with their talking
Are you worried about your child's speech?
Perhaps they are not talking as much as your older children did at this age.
Maybe nursery or preschool have mentioned some concerns?
It's a worry when your child isn't able to communicate easily.
Sometimes it can lead to frustrations and tantrums for them and anxieties for you.
Your mind wanders to how they will cope at school, whether they will make friends and how they will be able to make their needs known.
This is how I felt when my oldest child, Sophie (in the picture above) started preschool. She was around 2.5 years old and didn't talk very much.
I was beside myself, I'm a SPEECH THERAPIST after all, I presumed my children would be super-articulate by the time they'd moved onto solid foods 🙄
Parenting is a tricky job and we worry a lot about our children's development.
It's hard to turn to others for advice but in my professional experience, most children need a little extra time and a few fun games to play to help develop their speech.
I love to give ideas of fun games and activities parents, carers and extended family members can do to help boost toddler's talking skills.
If you're not a parent but you work with, live with or look after a child, you can try these too!
Here are 5 fun things for you to try with your litttle ones:
1 People watching
Encourage your child to observe people and how they act.
This will help their social development as well as their language skills.
We like to look out of our car windows and comment on things we see.
The idea is for adults to model language to the children.
You can start with just one word: "man" or add an adjective "tall man".
Encourage your child to look at what you can see and copy the sounds you say.
Once your child is using a few words, move onto slightly longer sentences.
Things like "those children are holding hands" "that boy is helping his mummy" "that baby is crying" "that wet dog is jumping up, naughty dog!"
2 Noisy tubes
Make tubes out of toilet rolls or kitchen rolls and copy each other making funny noises into the tubes.
This is very fun and very silly!
You can get a good range of sounds:
"ee" "oo" "oi" "air "ay-o"- those are all vowel sounds,
"mmmmm" "shhhhh" "zzzzz" -these are consonant sounds,
raspberry noises, lip smacking sounds, horsey face (you know the noise I mean, where you blow your lips out 😂)
All of these sounds are super fun and you'll be in fits of laughter.
Now try putting sounds together, like "mmmm-eee" "zzz-ooo-mmm".
Make sure you take it in turns to copy each other and before you know it, you'll have shared a conversation of silly noises that you've both loved.
This will help to encourage your child to communicate and boost their motivation to use their voice and words with you because it's fun.
Make different voices for different characters in books- the sillier the better!
Talk about the pictures and ignore the words, see if you can create your own endings for the stories.
Take it in turns to look at a page and say what you see. You can just say single words to start with and then add on words like "bird" "red bird" "little red bird".
If you do read the words and it's a rhyming story, miss off the last word and encourage your child to say it:
Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you ...
Encourage your child to shout "STOP" and "GO!" for different activities, these could be:
Putting your shoes on
When it's your turn to say "go", pause for a moment and let the anticipation build. This will help to keep your child's focus and support their attention skills.
Change the words to some well-known songs or nursery rhymes to make them silly and funny!
This is an excellent game for in the car.
Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you BANANA!
Row row row your boat, gently down the LEG!
The wheels on the bus go BOO!
There are lots more games ideas and plenty of information about how much your child should be talking for their age in my Early Years Speech and Language Course.
I made this online short-course for preschools, nurseries and childminders to help children with speech and language difficulties in their settings.
BUT there's no reason why parents can't benefit from the advice and reassurance this course brings.
Iif you're a savvy parent and you'd like some awesome ideas, strategies and help with your preschool-aged child, you might be interested in this online course.
It will show you how to any identify speech, language and communication difficulties and provides you with a range of strategies to support them.
Plus there's over a dozen different video demonstrations of FUN games to play to help their talking and understanding skills, all of these games I play in clinic and give out as homework to families I work with.
Click here to find out more: https://courses.thespeechandlanguagegarden.com/courses/early-years-speech-language