A recent research carried out at the University of Amsterdam states that majority of the babies start acquiring elementary language skills even before they are born! We have always known that kids learn faster and acquire the habits they are exposed to at a very early age. There is never a ‘right’ time you should set to start encouraging your toddler to talk. You can start it as early as a few days from birth. Kids are responsive to sound. And even if they are unable to respond verbally, one can clearly see the facial expressions changing with your voice modulation. While few kids take some time to start talking as much as other kids of the same age, do not worry. You are still left with plenty of ways by which you can encourage your toddler to talk.
Talk the actions
Talk to your kid while you do your daily routine with them. I remember my daughter picking up the same line as I used to say while I took her for a bath. Later we all laughed on how she actually framed her own terminologies by picking up parts of the words I said. But that is how your toddler picks up words. Tell your toddler that you are taking him for a bath or its time for her lunch and then encourage them to repeat after you by asking the same with a question tag. You would slowly notice how they pick words from those sentences you say to them on a regular basis.
This is something I personally enjoy doing. Start reading to your baby at an early stage, even if they do not react. Start with board books. You can slowly move to books with pictures and eventually bedtime stories. Stress on words, use expressions and modulate your voice to make the session interesting.
Listen and respond
Obviously a toddler will not have the right pronunciation or accent. Speech starts with blabbering, them trying to find the right way of saying a word. Show them objects around you and name them. Your toddler would particularly be interested in something in the house. Listen to their ‘version’ of the object’s name and repeat after them. A simple question asked, like pointing to a pen and asking if he/she likes it, encourages speech and a response.
Turn off gadgets
This is something which I speak from experience. I have known someone who was troubled as his son was 4 years old and spoke extremely less. The couple was necessarily worried and consulted the best doctors in the city. It turned out that the doctors suggested a complete non usage of gadgets and electronic devices and indulge in more conversations. And to everyone’s joy and surprise, the kid started to talk in just 4 months from the consultation.
Sing and dance with them
Yes. You got it right. One of my nephews has no audience fear and can comfortably dance with those tiny feet and blabber some song that he has picked from his sister who is 4 years elder to him. Enjoy music with them. Sing to them. Haven’t you heard your mom telling you how you imitated the lullabies she sang to you?
Hearing your little one blabber and talk is a beautiful experience. It is amazing how they pick up words and love to repeat them. Sometimes you will be surprised to hear them saying something new. Like today, while eating dinner my daughter suddenly called out to her grandfather and said, “Dadu, sit down here”. We all laughed. When they say new words it is a sense of achievement for them, and as well as you. Using some simple ways can encourage them to talk and trust me, you will love every bit of it.