TIPS FOR TALKING
Talk about things as they happen, using short, simple sentences. Your toddler learns the meaning of words from her environment so go on outings and interact with people and things.
Read to her from an early age. There’s a lot of communication that goes on in the pre-verbal stage (12 months). Picture books will help your baby grasp the meaning of language.
Don’t only teach nouns such as “ball”. Use verbs, adjectives and other types of words to describe it, for example “bouncy ball” or “big ball”.
Never use baby talk. Use short but complete sentences. When you speak to your child, get down on her level so that she can see your lips move and your mouth form the words.
Try not to anticipate your child’s needs. Make her vocalise her needs before responding.
Never correct her. Rather, repeat what she says using positive correction. For example, if your toddler points to the sky and says “Look, tar,” you need to respond with “Yes, look there’s the star!” Model what she says, and emphasise the sound and correct word.
Listen to your child and make time to answer her questions.
Ask open-ended questions requiring more than one-word answers.