While parents always look forward to their child’s first words, it’s important to acknowledge that speech development varies for each child.
While all children develop at their own pace, if you’re concerned your little one is a bit further behind in talking, here are some tips on how to encourage his or her speech development.
What is normal speech development?
Children should be able to say at least one word by the age of one, with this number steadily increasing to three-word sentences before turning three. A typical 18-month-old can say 50 to 100 words, but understand far more. Gestures and following directions show that your child is understanding and communicating, and there’s likely little reason to worry.
Easy and fun ways to encourage your child’s speech development:
Spark the conversation
Talking to, and around your child helps to increase her vocabulary and improve her grammar. Even talking about subjects that your child won’t necessarily understand will help. What is important is that she witness some form of communication.
Slow things down a notch
Child-directed speech, also known as baby talk, is a way of speaking that involves slowed-down speech with variations in pitch and exaggerated facial expressions. Change your vocabulary to encourage and praise your toddler for her efforts.
Have some fun with games and music
Make communication effortless and fun. Sing a lot while doing different activities with your toddler.
Call on the experts
If you feel your child needs some extra help and you have concerns about her speech or language abilities, seek professional help. Just remember, every child will develop at their own pace.