Health / Reading to Children / Tips

5 Tips To Help Your Toddler’s Language Development

Toddlers hit all sorts of milestones faster than a blink of an eye, but if you are afraid your toddler is lagging behind on speech and language development try some of these 5 easy tips.*

  1. Read, read read – Reading to your child is one of the best ways for a child to develop language skills. Don’t just read the book, but interact with your child while you read. Ask her to point to pictures, ask questions about the story, etc.
  2. Mirror, mirror on the wall – Children learn to pronounce words by watching others speak. Look in a mirror with your child and recite poems, sing songs or recite nursery rhymes together.
  3. Color your world – Be descriptive when you are talking about things. Instead of saying “Would you like an apple?” or “Look at that dog!” use descriptive words. “Would you like a round, red apple?” “Look at that small, black dog!”
  4. Mix it up with music – Music and movement have rhythm just like language. Put on your child’s favorite music and dance away! You will be amazed at the “indirect connections” music plays in helping your child develop language skills.
  5.  Keep it positive – If your child’s articulation or words aren’t exactly correct, don’t criticize. Repeat it with the correct usage.

What tips do you have to help your toddler’s speaking develop?

*Always check with your pediatrician if you feel your child is not hitting developmental milestones.

Posted September 18, 2012

by MichelleH


36 Responses

  1. Nancy says:

    Carry on continuous conversations with your toddler, and give them choices and ways to reply. For example: Do you want your red or blue shirt? Should we buy red or green apples? Do you want to be up or down?

  2. Stephanie Moreno says:

    being a first time mom, I found this to be quite helpful. Thank you for the tips from your home to ours !

  3. Lisa Mays says:

    Make sure they aren’t still relying too much on a pacifier at this stage!!

  4. christina s says:

    Great tips! My just turned 2 year old is delayed in speech so I’m always looking for ways to help her improve.

  5. Deborah Hogue says:

    We are always talking to our grandchildren, we also read to her and she loves books. I think ABC mouse and sprout tv also help our grandchildren learn and communicate better.

  6. Marla Bland says:

    My son learned to read very young (3 yrs.). I babysat and made up worksheets to teach them their alphabet and the sounds each of the letters made. We would go around the house and find things that started with “the sound of the week”. My two youngest were straight A’s through 12 yrs. of school and valedictorians. It does help to give them a head start.

  7. tamar says:

    I can’t wait to try this on my 4 month old. And I like the tip from Marla above since my son is 3 and he’s showing initiative but I guess I don’t have the patience! I love the idea though.

  8. Jackie s says:

    My daughter loves to have us read to her, and she loves apps on her ipad. She has learned so many words in spanish, and was already bilingual (spanish makes for her 3rd language).. She is only 2.5 and every day she just amazes us with her increased vocabulary and intelligence. If shes anything like her mama, she’ll love books and encyclopedias

  9. Debbie Ritenour says:

    I have a family member that is dealing with this issue with their child so thanks for the info! Ill print it off for her. dr

  10. We listen to songs and sing a lot. And my son loves to observe me speaking and singing before he tries to repeat.

  11. Melanie B says:

    Thanks for the tips, some of these I haven’t used. My son is like my daughter and has been slow to develop his language.

  12. Kelly H. says:

    I give my daughter options and encourage to say what it is that she wants.

  13. Stephanie Phelps says:

    I read to them all the time but never thought to use the mirror to help teach the language by mimicking me

  14. Erin Houser says:

    Love the tips. I will also add to be careful not to correct too often. Continue to pronounce clearly, and encourage pronunciation of course, but be overly corrective can lead to a child be unsure of themselves or less willing to try new things.

  15. latanya says:

    I love the tip about using the mirror. We also use the ipad apps for abc’s and other toddler learning apps.

  16. Lena Naef says:

    Thanks for the useful tips. We read books, listen to songs, sing, and talk a lot!

  17. Janice Auna says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m always looking for more tips on how to improve my daughter’s language skills.

  18. Elisabeth says:

    I definitely think that reading helps. Also, carrying on conversations with them helps.

  19. Andrea says:

    Great tips! I try to talk to my daughter all the time. I may look crazy in the grocery store asking a 15-month-old if she’d prefer red apples or green pears, but I really think even grocery shopping is a great place to teach toddlers color, language, etc.

  20. Karen Medlin says:

    Thank for the info.. our little guy just turned 2 last week and will seeing a speech therapist in preschool! I am always looking for ways to help with his speech

  21. Laura says:

    These are great tips! I have read to my son since he was first born! He loves books. We use descriptive words and let him talk on the phone to people he tries to be more clear when on the phone since he cant point and such.

  22. caitlyn collins says:

    Thanks for the tips! So far my daughter seems to be developing well in the language department but I’m always happy to learn new techniques to help!

  23. Laura Jacobson says:

    Oh such great ideas! Carter is learning to talk, and its so precious to hear each new word! We love to name the colors of things….his favorite color is yellow! Everything yellow!

  24. Morgan Dotson says:

    great tips! we love to read in our house!

  25. Lauren says:

    With my 23 month old’s mushy mouthed speech these are great tips to help us keep plugging along

  26. Kelsey Balch says:

    awesome tips! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Tiffany Winner says:

    my 1 year old loooves music, she dances but doesnt sing yet

  28. Valerie Taylor Mabrey says:

    I think if your kids with details it helps. Like “under the bed” , “the red ball” , and such they learn quickly

  29. ericka coello says:

    have descriptive conversations, using adjectives and nouns constantly. always talk articulated, vocalizing and emphasizing the correct pronunciation

  30. Kortney Picker says:

    Thanks for this great blog, my daughter isn’t quite to this stage yet. She is just starting to talk, but implementing these things now will help her later!!

  31. Jennifer Fox says:

    Reading is SOOOO important! I try and read to my kids every day, multiple times a day!

  32. Mike S. says:

    I especially agree with tip #5. I have a friend whose daughter doesn’t pronounce the “sp” sound on words like spoon and special. She says, “foon” and “fecial” instead. Their attitude is something along the lines of “its early still, she’ll figure it out” but they don’t bother to correct her at all. My son had similar speech issues, but a simple gentle correction each time and they were almost all corrected in a few weeks. Children WANT to speak correctly and they will typically only learn if you teach them – they won’t “figure it out on their own.”

  33. Paige Jagan says:

    I love these ideas! It’s amazing how they seem to easy but most I had never even thought of, both my boys were in speech therapy for different reasons, but i wish I had read this post a few years ago!

  34. Rachel says:

    I think it’s important at this stage for a toddler to learn ‘who’s the boss’ but at the same time, it’s a perfect opportunity to introduce the idea of compromise, the idea that sometimes we have to do things even though we don’t really want to, etc. It’s much easier to teach them when they are little then to wait until teenage years!

  35. Jan says:

    I agree with repeating to them the correct word. That’s what we are doing now with my one year old niece, :) If it’s not the right word that she was trying to say, she will shake her head no, lol

  36. Katherine Donovan says:

    These are great tips for a new grandma. It’s seems like forever ago that I read books to my children. I’m a little rusty, lol.

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