How to Get Toddler to Say Words

How to Get Toddler to Say Words

Watching your toddler grow and develop is an exciting journey, and one of the most eagerly anticipated milestones is hearing their first words. Communication is a vital aspect of their overall development, and it is natural for parents to wonder how to encourage their toddler to start speaking. If you are looking for ways to help your toddler say words, here are some effective strategies to try.

1. Create a language-rich environment: Surround your toddler with language talking, reading, and singing to them. The more they hear words and phrases, the more they will be motivated to imitate and eventually produce them.

2. Use gestures and sign language: Incorporate simple gestures and signs into your daily interactions. This can help your toddler associate words with actions, making it easier for them to understand and communicate their needs.

3. Engage in face-to-face interactions: Get down to your toddler’s level and maintain eye contact when you communicate with them. This will help them focus on your words and facial expressions, making it easier for them to imitate your sounds and learn new words.

4. Repeat and imitate: Encourage your toddler to imitate sounds and words repeating what they say. For example, if your toddler says “ball,” respond with enthusiasm saying, “Yes, that’s a ball! Ball, ball, ball!” This repetition helps reinforce their learning and encourages them to say more words.

5. Play games and sing nursery rhymes: Incorporate fun and interactive activities into your daily routine. Singing nursery rhymes, playing peek-a-boo, or engaging in simple word games can make learning words exciting for your toddler.

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6. Give them choices: Offer your toddler choices throughout the day. For instance, ask them if they want an apple or a banana, or if they want to wear the blue shirt or the red one. This not only encourages language development but also empowers them to express their preferences and make decisions.

7. Avoid too much screen time: Limit your toddler’s exposure to screens, including television and smartphones. Excessive screen time can hinder their language development, as it reduces the opportunities for face-to-face interactions and language-rich experiences.


1. When should my toddler start talking?

Every child develops at their own pace, but most toddlers start saying their first words between 12 and 18 months. If you have concerns about your child’s speech development, consult with a pediatrician or speech-language pathologist.

2. What if my toddler is not saying any words yet?

If your toddler is not yet saying any words 18 months, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess your child’s development and provide guidance if any intervention is necessary.

3. How can I encourage my toddler to say specific words?

To encourage your toddler to say specific words, focus on repetition, modeling, and creating opportunities for practice. For example, if you want them to say “milk,” consistently say the word during mealtime and offer them milk as you say it.

4. My toddler babbles a lot but doesn’t say real words. Is this normal?

Babbling is a crucial stage in language development. It is normal for toddlers to babble before saying real words. Babbling helps them practice and refine their speech sounds, so encourage their babbling imitating their sounds and responding with enthusiasm.

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5. Should I correct my toddler’s pronunciation?

While it is important to model correct pronunciation, it is not necessary to correct every mispronunciation your toddler makes. Focus on understanding their message and responding to it, rather than correcting their speech.

6. What if my toddler is bilingual?

Being bilingual is a wonderful advantage for your child. Encourage their language development in both languages consistently exposing them to both languages and providing opportunities for practice in each.

7. How long does it take for a toddler to develop a wide vocabulary?

Building a wide vocabulary is a gradual process. By the time they are three years old, most children have a vocabulary of around 1,000 words. However, every child is different, so it is important to focus on their individual progress and provide them with support and encouragement along the way.

Remember, each child is unique and will develop at their own pace. Be patient, provide a language-rich environment, and enjoy the journey as your toddler learns to express themselves through words.

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