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From Baby Babble to Toddler Talk: How to Use Your Child's Favorite Toy to Improve Their Language Skills

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Watching your baby grow and develop from a babbling bundle of love into a walking, talking toddler is as much a journey of discovery for you as it is for your child. However, there does come a time when every parent questions whether their toddler is where he or she should be developmentally in terms of language skills. 

Girls tend to be more verbally advanced than boys at an early age, and research carried out by Stanford University shows that children who hear more words at a very young age also tend to be more verbally proficient. 

While there are some general language milestones that can serve to help you monitor your child's verbal skills, it is also important to remember that every child develops at their own pace. The best thing you can do as a parent is to talk to them as much as possible. 

Use Their Favorite Blankets and Toys

Research shows that 70% of young children develop an emotional attachment to objects or toys such as blankets and teddy bears. This is a good opportunity for you to develop your toddler's language skills. Every night before bed, or every morning, whichever you prefer, sit down with your toddler and use their favorite toy or object to start a discussion. For instance, if your toddler has a favorite teddy, you can create a story that revolves around that teddy and involves the other teddies, such as a teddy picnic or a trip to the seaside. It could go like this:

Secondary toy: "Hey Doggy. Shall we go to the beach today?"

Favorite toy: "The beach? Oh, I love swimming!" 

Secondary toy: Me too. Who else can we invite?"

Even favorite blankets can be used for this. At first, you might need to gain your toddler's trust with their precious toy, but after several fun role plays together, you should find that your child can't wait to get started. You might even find that they come running to you before bed or early in the morning, begging you to create another role play for their treasured teddy to take part in. 

Some Things to Remember

  • ​Speak slowly and clearly. Your child will be able to imitate you more easily. 
  • As you act out the role play, let your child play one or several roles. Child-directed speech is far more effective at increasing a child's vocabulary than speech simply overheard, according to research. 
  • Explain everything and be as expressive as you can. If doggy is going to the beach, then talk about how he loves building sandcastles and how he hates the feel of sand in his fur. 
  • Introduce new words with hand gestures and appropriate reactions like: "The sun is so warm (point to the sky, make a circle and hug yourself). I love sunbathing (smile and lie back). 

Even for those of you who aren't normally very talkative, this will serve as a simple yet effective method of helping your toddler learn to express themselves verbally and without any pressure. In fact, in the long run you will come to find that your child acts out toy-role plays on their own. When this happens, make yourself comfortable and listen as your child surprises and amazes you with their newly developed language skills. For more information, contact a business such as communiKIDS.