Monday, August 6, 2012

Making a Toddler Talk

Can you make a toddler talk?

Well it depends who you ask. But in the case of our little Peanut, I believe you can.

Bubs was a slow talker. He ended up in speech because of it. Sweet Pea talked very early. Little Man was having conversations before some kiddos can walk. (Okay this is an exaggeration but not much of one!) Now Peanut enters the toddler stage and I have forgotten what it is like to have a late talker. Sure, he says the normal "please, night-night, and ball" but the list isn't much longer than that.

A couple of days ago, I realized that we have made it easy for him not to talk. We respond to his "uh's" and "that's." When you get what you want without saying real words, then why go to the effort of talking?

Needless to say, Peanut's life had changed pretty dramatically. Upon this revelation, his requests now must be made with words. And I am happy to report that he is now adding a few words a day to his toddler vocabulary.

This is the current plan.

Peanut can say "please" very well so this is our fall-back-on word. Whenever he requests something, we ask him to say the name of the item desired. As long as he attempts to say the word, the item is given to him.

If it is called a word he has not said yet and he still hasn't said after three promptings from us, we ask him to say "please" (our fall-back-on word). Once this is said, the item is handed to him and the name of the item is repeated for reinforcement.

But, if it is a word that he can say and has said several times,  he does not receive the item until he has said the word.

Yesterday, Peanut wanted a little ball to play with.  "Ball" is one of his favorite words and said frequently so we know that there is no issue in him saying this word.  For some reason, Peanut preferred to say "that" instead of "ball."  I prompted him to say "ball" several times but he did not oblige.  So, the ball was set down out of reach but within site until he used his words.  We tried a couple more times afterwards still to no avail.  I left the area for a moment while Sweet Pea and Peanut played.  Suddenly I heard Sweet Pea say, "Mom, he just said 'ball' so I gave him the ball." 


BTW- We used this same method to teach sign language.

What have you done to help your child accomplish as task?


  1. Our little one talks a ton but I am a nanny and have cared for children who were like your little peanut. I used your exact method and it has worked for me!

    1. Glad to hear that you were successful. We will keep working at it!


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