When Should a Toddler Start Talking?
Learning to talk is a long process that goes differently with each little one. Most toddlers will start to say their first words around 12 months old, with a vocabulary of about 10-20 words by 18 months. By the time they turn two, they should be able to say around 50-100 words. However, every child is different, so don’t worry if your toddler isn’t meeting these milestones exactly.
It’s not uncommon for toddlers to go through a “silent period” around 18-24 months old where they don’t say much. This is usually nothing to worry about and they should start talking again soon. At 2-3 years of age, they’ll be able to understand around 250 words and follow detailed instructions. That’s when they’ll usually start feeling more confident about talking in sentences too.
How to Teach a Toddler to Talk? General Tips
Before we dive into fun activities, let’s review some general tips for how to teach a toddler to talk:
- Encourage communication by talking frequently with your child, even if they don’t yet have the words to respond. This will help them learn how conversation works and get used to the back-and-forth flow.
- Make sure you’re speaking clearly and using simple words when talking to your toddler. They’re still learning how to understand language, so overloading them with information will only confuse them.
- Model the behavior you want to see by using lots of gestures and facial expressions when you talk. This will help your child understand the meaning of what you’re saying, even if they can’t yet interpret the words.
- Avoid using baby talk or making fun of the way your child talks. Instead, repeat what they said back to them using the proper words. For example, if your child says “wawa” for water, you can say “Yes, that’s water.”
Sticking to a daily routine will also help your toddler learn how to communicate. When they know what’s coming next, they’ll be more likely to start using words to ask for things or let you know what they want.
Fun Activities That Encourage Language Development
Now that we’ve gone over some general tips, let’s get into some fun activities that you can do at home if you’re wondering how to teach a toddler to talk.
Reading Books and Telling Stories
Read books together and point out different objects in the illustrations. As you read, take the time to explain what’s happening in the story and how the characters are feeling. This will help your toddler understand how to express themselves verbally.
You can also make up your own stories using familiar objects from around the house. This is a great way to teach your child new words in a fun and interactive way.
Songs are a great way to help your toddler learn how to talk. Not only do they help with memory and recall, but they also make learning new words fun. Make up your own songs about everyday activities or sing along to some of your child’s favorite nursery rhymes.
You can also use songs to help your toddler understand different emotions. For example, if they’re feeling frustrated, you can sing a song about how it’s okay to feel mad sometimes.
Puppets and Dolls
Puppets and dolls are great tools for helping your toddler learn how to talk. You can use them to act out familiar scenes or make up your own stories. This is a great way to help your child practice using different words and sounds. Here’s an example scene you could act out:
- You: “Hi, puppy. What’s your name?”
- Puppy: “I’m Bobby.”
- You: “Hi, Bobby. Do you want to play fetch?”
- Puppy: “Yes, I love to play fetch. Woof woof!”
As you can see, puppets, dolls and stuffed animals can be a great way to encourage your child to use different words and sounds.
If you’re wondering how to teach a toddler to talk, you might be surprised that building blocks can help with it. You can use them to create different scenes or build towers and houses. As you play, name the different objects you’re using and describe what they’re doing. For example, “Put the blue block on top of the yellow block. Now it’s a tower!”
These are just a few of the many fun activities you can do at home if you’re unsure how to teach your toddler to talk. Just remember to be patient and have fun with it. The more you talk to your child, the more they’ll learn how to communicate with you.
How do you like these ideas for how to teach a toddler to talk? Do you have any other suggestions? Share your thoughts in the comments below!