Decades of psychiatric research suggests that children develop at different rates, but there are milestones that are subject to general consensus, such as when a toddler begins to talk. Usually, talking occurs between a year and two years of age, with children being able to string together short sentence and make requests by three-years-old. However, late talkers sometimes still babble at three-years-old, leaving them open to evaluation by pediatricians and eventual, possible, speech therapy sessions.
Aside from listening to your pediatrician and engaging in speech therapy sessions, there are a number of ways you can encourage your kiddo to talk when they face speech delays. These methods might or might not work, but they are good for their growing minds regardless of if they bring on significant improvements in speech.
Remember—most kids will simply talk and learn at their own pace, so don’t stress too much if your child is a little late in hitting some of their verbal milestones.
Get on Their Level to Talk to Them About Toys and Other Cool Stuff that a Toddler Might Love
Most toddlers with speech delays have no trouble understanding you when you speak. Talk! You should crouch, kneel, or sit down to get on their level before you speak to your toddler at length about things, like toys they might have an interest in. Have these kinds of engaging conversations a few times a day and your little one will have an easier time mimicking words and social cues.
Note: Sign language is notably beneficial to toddlers, but you should throw in words with the signs. This allows children to associate words with gestures. Speak while you sign.
Use Audio Books with Fun Sing-Song Voices for Background Noise During Independent Play
You can’t spend every moment of every single day with your babe, even if you are a stay-at-home parent. You would go crazy and your kiddo wouldn’t benefit from a helicopter guardian.
That said, you can enrich their independent playtime with audio books. Find an anthology of nursery rhymes, told in an engaging sing-song voice, to play in the background while your little one plays in the foreground.
Make Interactive Reading a Before-Bed Routine
There’s a difference between reading to your child and then interactive reading WITH your child. Choose a book with characters and changes in scenes, colors, and pictures. Do funny voices, ask questions while you read, and get your kiddo to participate in making the book a fun before-bed experience.