Posted in Activities & Enrichment, Milestones & Development, Toddlers

Advise on helping baby speak.

Baby is almost 18 months old and he only speaks mama and papa. How do I help him improve his vocabulary?

  • Anonymous
    Sep 09, 2019

    Talk to him, read to him- I read while he plays, he doesn't have to sit in order to listen, label everything you see, "tree", "house", tell him everything you are doing "now we are changing your diaper, now I'm going to wipe your bottom"

  • PK
    Sep 09, 2019

    Everything that previous poster said. My son loved taking walks with me around the neighborhood too. I would point stuff out to him. Eventually he started pointing stuff out himself and telling me what it was or if he didn’t know he wouldn’t say anything. And I would phrase that question for him, “what is that?” You can phrase the questions for them and then answer it. It teaches them how to ask questions. Also... singing!!! Listen to music, sing and dance!

  • Anonymous
    Sep 11, 2019

    Read!!! Almost everything my son knows is because we read a lot. Pick books that have a lot of things to talk about, and keep around the same 5-10 books so he can start to recognize and remember

  • Maeghan
    Sep 11, 2019

    Sing, read, talk about everything to them even if you think they don’t understand, describe and explain everything you do and see, and, most importantly, LISTEN when they talk even if it’s just babbling. I started reading and talking to my baby before he was even born and explain everything to him- even though it felt silly sometimes. My son is 18 months old and is speaking in clear, complete 5-6 word sentence and started short sentences around a year old. He is also early stage reading (describing the pictures he sees in books). Barring any mental or physical (like a tongue tie) limitations, talking is all about exposure and engagement. Good news is, it’s never too late to start!!

  • Nitika
    Sep 11, 2019

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

  • Abigail
    Sep 15, 2019

    Thank you all for sharing . If I may ask ? What are some of the titles of the books you read to your toddlers and where can we get some to buy. Thanks

  • PK
    Sep 15, 2019

    The best books for toddlers are the books about stuff they are interested in. My son loves dinosaurs, animals, trucks, trains and Halloween. So we have a lot of books about or related to those topics. What is your toddler interested in? Another way to discover new books to love is to go to your public library, get a library card and make it a point to go at least twice a month to check out some books. You’ll eventually find that your toddler keeps bringing the same few books to you to reread... and if you enjoy them to, then you can look into buying them! We usually get our books from amazon. Other than that we buy our books wherever we see them available (target, the zoo, Barnes and Noble, etc)

  • C
    Jan 07

    If it’s any consolation, my son’s nurses said boys tend to learn to speak later than girls, so maybe your boy is on track. Also, if he spends most of his time in multilingual environments, he’ll take longer as he’ll need to process the different sets of vocabulary. Some of my son’s friends didn’t speak until they were 18 months to 2 years old, and then one day they just started talking and wouldn’t stop, like they were saving it all up. My own son is still babbling, and he’s 16 months, but now, once in a blue moon he’ll randomly say one actual word, and then never say it again. He’s been babbling more and more now and with increasing complexity, so we think he’ll be speaking fairly soon. I bought a bunch of board books during a children’s book sale where I live. All board books, so that he can freely touch the pages, turn them, point at the pictures and words, and even chew on the book (part of figuring out what books are). Most of the books I chose teach social norms and ethics - things like the importance of waiting your turn, why and how to clean up after yourself, etc - so that these lessons get in there early while he’s also learning the words for them. We read a book a day, at least 20 minutes. Kids end up picking the same 3 books and will have you read them 20 times in a row though. He has an entire dedicated bookcase but my son’s go-to books are a cloth book and a couple board books with interactive pages. My son also loves music, so I turn a lot of what I say into a song. For example, during bath time I’ll sing, “This is the way we wash our hair” to the tune of “Around the Mulberry Bush.” Singing also helps distract him from crying spells and to calm him down for sleep. Something about the sequential format of most nursery songs gets little kids’ attention and memory. In addition to books, I narrate every moment of our day and even say my thoughts out loud. For example, when he needs his diaper changed, I’ll say in a sing song voice, “Okay time to change your diaper! First we will go to the changing station. Time to take your pants off! Do you think we could put the diaper on without taking your pants off first? Hmm, I think it would be very difficult, what do you think? Haha, we’ll now we’re going to” yadda yadda. I drive myself nuts doing it but it seems to be paying off. After a lifetime of babbling, he said “banana” after I said it the other day. Same for “bye bye.”