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Is your child at a stage where he can speak words, but would rather grunt? Or maybe tempers are flying high as he tries to talk and you struggle to understand? Find out how you can help with your toddler’s speech development milestones.
Has your toddler hit the age where he can’t stop talking? It’s a wonderful experience, save for the fact that it seems as if he speaks in an entirely different language! Your child is still learning how to use his mouth muscles and his voice, and getting used to this newfound power takes time.
Helping Your Toddler Produce Speech Sounds More Easily
Between the ages of 7-9 months, children begin babbling by stringing together vowels and simple consonants. Bilabials(lip sounds) like /p, /b, and /m are usually the first to arrive, followed by /n, /h, and /w. Slowly, they start grasping consonants and consonant blends. By the age of 2, toddlers can say about 100 words, and have mastered the use of vowels and the consonants just mentioned. While the development of speech sounds in children has been researched and documented various times, you can make the process much simpler for your child.
Ways to Make Your 2-year-old Produce Speech Sounds
1. Talk to Him Often
Practice makes perfect! Keep talking to your toddler and encourage him to ask all the questions he has in his little curious mind. Try to answer them all too. If he doesn’t get responses, he’ll be discouraged from asking any. At first, you might notice your toddler omitting consonants or not pronouncing them properly. Keep practicing, and he’ll eventually pick up.
2. Avoid the Word ‘No’
Your child is at an age where he’ll begin or has already begun using the word ‘no’ a little too often. You mustn’t do the same. If kids use wrong grammar or incorrect words, do not correct them. Instead, simply use the correct sentence yourself. Children catch on fast.
3. Plan Speech Therapy Activities for Toddlers
Different children learn at different speeds, and it’s important to give them their space. However, if you’re worried that your child is not learning at a normal pace, it’s best to consult a speech therapist who can teach you speech therapy exercises for toddlers. In the meantime, you can encourage your child to talk through everyday activities such as by counting items out loud, talking about what you’re doing, reading to him, and asking him questions like ‘What’s this’? or ‘Who’s that?’
4. Simplify Your Speech
If your toddler doesn’t pronounce consonants or avoids using some words completely, it’s usually because he’s not sure of the pronunciation, and does not get validity from his environment. Help your child communicate by using simple sentences yourself, comprising of three or word words instead of complex, long sentences.
Even though it’s important for a child to develop proper speech before he hits elementary school, pressuring will never help. You need to give gentle direction and act as a play-mate instead of a coach. When your child feels comfortable and starts having fun, that’s when he’ll learn best.