Teaching Toddlers Words

From age 1 onward, children start to learn simple words, and you can help that process along!

 

During bath time or while changing clothes, name your toddler’s familiar body parts—“nose,” “foot,” “hand”—as you point to his and your own nose, foot and hand.

Your child will learn that words can describe categories of objects as well as individual objects, along with learning the names of his body parts.

One research team has found that babies who become early talkers are most likely to learn words at first for things they find interesting and pay little attention to cues from adults.

After the first year, all toddlers pay more attention to the words for objects and actions used by the people who talk to them. They learn words fastest when parents look at and label the object that they already find of interest.

If you talk to your child using complete thoughts, not “give it to me” but “give me the ball,” her language is more likely to arrive more fully formed and with a richer vocabulary.

Researchers have also found that saying new words next to a familiar word—such as your child’s own name—may help her learn them faster.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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