What was your baby’s first word? Who was the one to hear him say it? Watching your baby learn to speak is such a fun experience. Most babies will be able to say 3-5 words by their first birthday. By 18 months they should have expanded their vocabulary to include 20 words. Each baby developes at their own pace, so don’t’ be alarmed if your child doesn’t fit exactly into the mold. Toddlers learn how to speak through everyday activities and by imitating what you are saying. Here are some fun activities that you can do with your toddler to help build up their vocabulary.
- Singing: Pick a few of your favorite children’s song and sing it to them everyday. Make up some motions to go along with the words. After some time you will see your baby copying the motions and then filling in the words. Some ideas to start with are “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes”, “The Wheels On The Bus” and “The Bear Went Over The Mountain”.
- Reading: Turn your toddler into a book lover at a young age. Snuggle up on the couch or rocking chair with your child and read him books. At this age you should be reading him the same books again and again, and again. This helps them become familiar with the words in the book. My toddler loves the PriddyBicknell Board Books which shows them pictures everyday items. She loves to find the items I’m reading and point to it on the page.
- Gather together a box of items from around the house. Ask her to look into the box and give you a specific item. Keep repeating the word that you are asking her for. If she passes you the ball say “Wow! What a big blue ball this is. Look how we roll the ball.” Constant repitition will motivate them to try and repeat the word after you.
- Take a walk together in the park. Unplug your electronics and concentrate on spending the time talking to your toddler. Narrate what you see, where you are going, how pretty the the world is. The more you talk to your child, the more you are building up their vocabulary.
- Have a tea party! Take their favorite doll and set up a party! Use a play kitchen and cook up a storm. Set up a kids table with plates, forks and knives. Serve some of their favorite food. Be sure to narrate what you are doing the whole time. Use lots of everyday items such as plates, pots, toys and more. She’ll love spending time with you and her doll!
The bottom line is the more you talk to your toddler, the more words they learn. Keep working on it and eventually you’ll be wondering how to get yourself some quiet time!