Toddler Language Development 101: 10 Tips for Parents

Bilingual Early Education
parent and toddler reading a book

Parents play a crucial role in toddler language development. After all, they are the child’s first teacher and caregiver.

Part of your role as a parent includes making sure that your child learns to read, write, and speak at a steady pace. You are there to help your toddler each step of the way as they slowly reach their language development milestones.

In this article, we’ll discuss ten simple steps to develop your toddler’s language skills.

    1. Talk To Your Child

The best way to start honing your child’s language skills is by talking to them. Think of creative ways to spark a discussion with your little one. For example, you can ask about what they did for the day and let your child do the rest of the talking.

Just remember to use simple toddler language and short phrases like “It’s bath time!”

The same goes when praising your little one. Let’s say you want to compliment your child’s artistic skills. You can say something like, “Wow, that’s a nice picture!”

    1. Mimic Their Sounds

Babies often communicate by making babbling noises or gibberish. Even though it may not make sense to you, it’s your child’s way of communicating with you.

Encourage your baby to talk and answer back with goo-goos, la-las, and other common toddler expressions. Doing this sends a clear message that you care about your baby and are interested in what they say. In turn, it could encourage them to listen and open up. 

    1. Repeat Your Words

Building language skills for toddlers takes time and patience. Since your little one is still at a learning stage, they’ll need time to absorb new words and understand what they mean.

Consider how babies and toddlers learn better by repetition. This means they need to hear the words and sentences many times before they can use them correctly. So use new words often to help your child remember.

    1. Guide Pronunciation & Word Use

As your child learns to speak, it’s only natural for them to make mistakes. Any problems in pronunciation or word use is a natural part of a toddler’s speech development. Make learning fun by guiding them every step of the way. 

Instead of correcting these mistakes, show them that you understand what they’re trying to say. Repeat what your child tells you but add the correct pronunciation or use for a more interactive learning experience. Don’t forget to praise them when they get things right!

    1. Engage in Conversations, Not Quizzes

When communicating, remind yourself that your little one is more receptive to conversations than tests. Quizzing them during playtime could lead to stress and discomfort.

A better approach is to introduce an open-ended thought that will encourage your little one to respond. For example, instead of asking your child the sound a bird makes, say something like, “I wonder where the bird is going.” You can also use this method to spark discussions about their favorite toy or TV show.

    1. Read More Books

Reading offers advantages to your child’s development, especially when it comes to enhancing language skills for toddlers. But at what age should your child start reading? 

Our answer: it’s never too early to get started! 

During your reading sessions, ask your child to read the words they know out loud. It’s an excellent way to make storytelling more interactive.

Start with simple storybooks and picture books. As they grow older, you can move to longer storybooks. Drop by your local library for recommendations or check out our list of fantastic reads, available in both English and Spanish.

    1. Limit Gadget Use

Some TV shows and apps can facilitate language development, but relying too much on gadgets can limit opportunities to interact and respond. Remember: interaction is a crucial ingredient to toddler language development.

That’s why we suggest imposing limits on gadget use. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than an hour of educational screen time a day for children between ages 2-5. Meanwhile, those younger than two years old should avoid screen time as much as possible.

    1. Encourage Pretend Plays

Let your child’s imagination run wild as they practice their language skills! Pretend play and roleplay activities are a fun way to encourage your toddler to talk.

Let your child narrate their favorite stories, whether it’s an action-packed adventure or a fairytale. It can also help develop your child’s creativity by creating fun characters, settings, and stories.

This storytelling exercise will encourage your child to practice expressing themselves and using unfamiliar words.

    1. Make Playtime Exciting

Are you wondering how to help your toddler develop language skills? Try inserting fun speaking exercises during playtime. After all, children learn best when they’re having fun.

You can start by singing along to nursery rhymes. The catchy rhythm and wordplay can help improve recall, and the next thing you know, they’ll be singing along! 

The more, the merrier — turn it into a group exercise and invite friends and family. Try some fun listening games to improve your little one’s listening skills. After all, listening is just as important as learning how to talk.

    1. Enroll in a Daycare Immersion Center

Imrprove your child’s language skills by enrolling them to a daycare immersion center. A good daycare center creates a nurturing environment where your child can learn language and apply what they’ve learned in real life. 

Studying at a daycare center allows your little one to interact with their classmates and teachers. Some subjects are taught in a foreign language to facilitate more in-depth learning. All in all, it’s an excellent way to enhance speech development in toddlers.

Promote Language Development in Your Little One

Language skills are a vital life skill that will benefit your child as they reach their adolescent years. Help them get closer to their language goals with consistent practice. Just don’t forget to make it fun and exciting! 

For more actionable tips in encouraging toddler language development, check out the Rayito de Sol blog.

March 16, 2022