Language Express Preschool Speech and Language Services System of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville.

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Resources - Learning To Talk (Birth - 2 1/2 Years)

Learning to Talk

1. Don't Wait and See - Print Version

Long before a child starts to talk, she is learning about communication. The sooner we see a child with delayed speech and language, the more we can help!


2. Get Face to Face and Imitate - Print Version

Learning to Talk

Get down on the floor and imitate your child’s sounds and actions.

Get nose-to-nose during diaper changes and copy her sounds and the faces she makes.

Play Simon Says with actions like jumping, spinning, rolling. Take turns being Simon.

Turn your child to face you when reading a book. Rhyming books help kids learn about sounds.

Copy what your child says and say it correctly: Child: "Bid doddi." Adult: "Yes, that is a big doggie."

3. Join In! - Print Version

Learning to Talk

Join in your child’s play and talk about what your child is interested in.

Join in your child’s bath time! When your child splashes, splash back! Use words like splash, wet, water, wave, fun.

Run, jump, swing and climb with your child. Use words like slow, fast, run, and fall.

Let’s Pretend! Have a tea party, play school, or act like animals!

Look at a book together. Wait and see what interests your child and then talk about it. You don’t have to read the words.

4. Repeat - Print Version

Learning to Talk

Say the same words again and again in different situations.

Repeat favourite nursery rhymes and sing songs during everyday activities.

Play Follow the Leader. Use words like under, over, through, behind, in front of.

Help your child write the letters of his name and say each letter as you write it. Help him find these letters on signs, menus and in books.

Sing songs like Head and Shoulders and the Hokey Pokey! It’s a fun way to learn the names of body parts.

Learning to Talk

5. Keep It Simple - Print Version

Use simple words to talk about what you are doing while you are doing it.

Use simple words at mealtime. "Do you want milk or juice?", "I love spaghetti!", "What a mess!"

Go for a walk together and tell your child the names of things he notices: "Look! A bird." "That bird is making a nest."

Say rhymes and make up your own silly rhymes together: "Tickle your neck, tickle your nose. Tickle your tummy, tickle your toes!"

Add simple words to any game: stop, go, my turn, your turn.

6. Don't Force It - Print Version

Learning to Talk

Don’t try to make your child talk… WAIT, then say what she would say if she could, then WAIT some more.

Wait for your child to make a choice by reaching, pointing or using words. Give your child a choice of things to wear, eat or do.

Instead of telling your child what to say, try filling in the blank. For example in a chase game, say, "1, 2, 3…" then WAIT. If your child doesn’t say GO - you say it.

Look at a book together. Instead of asking "What’s that?" "What colour is that?" try openended comments like: "I wonder what will happen next."

Do the dishes with your child. Say something like "I need more soap." WAIT and see what your child does or says.

Learning to Talk

7. Limit TV and Computer - Print Version

Pediatricians recommend no TV or computer for children under 2, and no more than 1-2 hours of supervised daily screen time for older children.

Research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with their parents and caregivers. Their brains are not wired to take in fast-paced language and visual images.

There are so many other fun things your child could be doing.

8. It's Never Too Early To Read - Print Version

Learning to Talk

Research shows that children get ready to read before they start school. From 0-3 years, children develop knowledge of the spoken language, the sounds that form words, letters, writing and books.

What you can do at home:

  • Make book sharing a part of your everyday routines starting at birth. You don’t have to read the words. Talk about the pictures to see what interests your child.
  • Make book sharing time special between you and your child.
  • Read labels, signs, lists, and menus out loud!
  • Let your child hold the book and turn the pages.
  • Point out and name letters when reading books together.