Bayo Ajibola

2 Ways to Improve Your Toddler’s Vocabulary

Children communicate from the time they are born but they adopt ‘normal’ communication methods when they grow older. Crying is a baby’s first mode of communication since they express their discomfort. Your job is to discern whether the cry means “I’m hungry” or “My diaper is wet”.

It can be a very frustrating time but thankfully time moves on and your baby begins goo-goo gaga. This progresses to “ma” and “da” and if they like how these sound they will say them very many times.  After your baby’s first birthday the progress continues into understanding and executing simple instructions like picking up a toy. She may even have noticed that you raise your voice whenever you ask a question and she begins to raise her voice at the end of all her questions. Add hand gestures to the mix and you have a completely normal conversation!

Words increase as you go along and by around two years she should be able to make short sentences, even if they only have two words. She may want to join in during nursery rhymes and sing-alongseven though only the last word may come out.

If you listen closely you will hear her talking to herself when she plays. It will not be about global warming and it may even be a little incoherent but it pretty much is a conversation in her world. You may actually think that she is making a lot of sense until you listen to the speech because the rhythm will probably be that of a normal conversation.

Between two and three years your toddler has gained confidence with pronouns like “you”, “me” and “I” so she uses them more often and correctly. She can hold a simple conversation and tell you what she has been up to or something she saw a while ago. Questions will come in plenty so prepare to be patient and to be a walking dictionary.

Tenses may be a little bit out of her league but she will get the hang of it with time since she will hear you saying it right. Instead of pointing out her mistake, you can answer her question or repeat her statement with the right form of the word. This way she learns without killing her confidence. How do you get her talking some more?

Talk to her

Conversation is the biggest thing that will get your child talking and allow you to share vocabulary as well. You can talk about anything when changing, bathing or feeding her. When you go out you can point things out and tell her what they are called.

As she grows older she will respond with her own few words. Keep your questions and statements as simple as possible so that she can be able to understand easily and respond accordingly. Once in a while use longer sentences than her short ones to emphasize the same thing so that she learns new ways of saying the same thing. You can use four words instead of her two.

You can also add choices to the list so that she learns something new. If there is a picture or the actual item to accompany the word then feel free to use it. You can place a banana and an apple and ask whether she would like an apple or a banana while pointing to each of them. Now she knows the word and what it represents.

Read books together

Talk about the pictures in the book. You can even let her sit in front of you so that she can see and hear you speaking instead of placing her on your lap. Practice makes perfect and your toddler will improve her speaking skills in no time.


Pictures from co-parentmatch


Bayo Ajibola

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