Your Baby & Toddler - - Baby Files: Baby -

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.

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