How to stimulate more speech from your toddlers
Most often children just need a little more incentive to get them talking. There are many ways of “tempting” your child to speak. Here are a few ways to elicit expressive language.
- Eat something your child loves in their presence without offering them any. When your child indicates that they would like some, model a more advanced way for them to make the request, whether it is using a sign, a word or a simple phrase. For example, if your child points and grunts to the candy, model the sign for candy then wait and see if your child will imitate the sign candy. If your child simply keeps pointing and grunting take his/her hand and help him make the sign for candy then reward him/her with the candy.
- Play with something your child loves. but don’t offer to share. For instance if your child loves playing with play dough and wants to participate in the fun, you could model the /p/ sound for “please” or “play,” or you could model the signs for please or play. If your child can already say one word model a two word phrase for him/her to imitate like, “play please.”
- At meal time and snack time give your child bite size portions, rather than dishing up a whole serving for them, then wait for them to request more. If no attempt is made model the sign “more,” help them make the sign, or model the /m/ sound for them to imitate.
- Limit your child’s access to things like the T.V., toys, and food. Set it up so they have to make a request or ask for help to access these things. You may accomplish this by putting their favorite things up high or locked up.
- Play turn-taking games such as rolling the ball back and forth, or pushing a car back and forth. Once your child expects another turn hold the car or ball and wait. Look at him/her expectantly if no sign or verbal request is made, model an appropriate request such as the sign for “ball,” the /b/ sound, the word “ball” or “ball please”…
- Use tight containers to store things in. When your child indicates he/she wants a cookie you might hand him/her the cookie jar (tightly sealed of course), when he/she can’t open it and hands it back to you make him/her sign open or help.
- Use wind-up toys or other toys that are difficult for kids to operate on their own. Wind up a wind-up toy your child enjoys then hand it to them when they want a turn, wait for them to request help by using the sign or the word to operate the toy
- Blow bubbles then screw the lid on tightly and hand it back to your child for their turn. Wait for them to request help with a sign or a word. Model the sign or word if necessary.