It takes two to talk! Easy ways to communicate with your little one

As parents, we all eagerly anticipate our child’s first words. We often wonder too what they may be! Will “Mummy” or “Daddy” be the first thing that comes out of their mouth? Or will it be something completely random like “Uh Oh”?!! This is a mystery and part of the ongoing surprise and excitement that is the journey of parenthood.

As parents, there are several ways we can encourage our children to speak, so let’s talk about them!

Story time

One easy and fun way to encourage your child is by reading together. One of the best things you can do with your child is to read to them as much as possible every day, as this encourages language development and can be a special part of building the parent/ child relationship. Doing so allows your child to develop a wider vocabulary and can assist in further developing their expressive and receptive language.

Item naming

Another activity we can encourage is giving names to everyday household items. Your toddler may often point to an item they want, like their water bottle, spoon, or a toy. When they do this, you can act as their teacher and translator, helping them understand the names associated with each of the items.

For example, when your child points to their bottle, rather than just giving it to them, respond by saying “Water?”, “Do you want your water bottle?”. If you keep doing this every time they point, they will slowly learn what the words mean, and in time understand they can use this word to make requests and comment on their surroundings.  You can do this with any items that play a part in their daily routine, so give it a try and see.

6 simple ways to encourage your child to speak

You can also try some of the below methods to encourage chatter from your child:

  • Talk directly to them, even if just to narrate what you’re doing.
  • Sing simple songs that are easy to repeat. Did someone say Wiggles?
  • Give your child your full attention when talking to them. Be patient when they try to communicate with you. Use your eye contact (and encourage your child to do the same) to check for attention and help to monitor if their message has been received.
  • When someone asks your child a question, resist the temptation to answer for them.
  • Even if you can anticipate your child’s needs, give them the opportunity to express it themselves.
  • Ask questions and give choices, allowing plenty of time and space for your child to respond.

What if my child still isn’t speaking?

Some children take longer than others to develop language. Even though you may have tried some of the above methods, you may still be eagerly waiting to hear first words come from their mouth. Your child may have difficulties with developing the skill of verbal communication.

Some signs of possible language difficulties include:

  • a child is not using at least 50 words by the age of 2
  • difficulty putting together sentences between the age of 2 – 3
  • having trouble following instructions
  • not responding to familiar voices

We recommend keeping an eye on these developmental milestones. If you notice your child is not progressing in these areas, reach out to the team at Adelaide Paediatrics, and organise a time to see one of our paediatricians. From here, we can assess your child and determine what the next steps may be.

For a little more information, you can directly reach out to us here

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Adelaide Paediatrics’ doctors, allied health professionals and staff care about your family and what you are going through. We take the time to listen and understand so that you feel supported and empowered as we work together to care for your child. We know that sometimes medical issues in children cannot wait, so if an appointment is required urgently, we will do our best to accommodate and offer an urgent appointment with a paediatrician where possible.

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