If you’re concerned about your toddler’s speech development, you are not alone. Communication skills lay the foundation for children’s overall development and cannot be overstated. The ability to speak clearly, process speech sounds, understand others, express ideas, and interact with surroundings are key building blocks for children’s success in school and in life. Good communication skills, language and literacy at a young age have been shown to positively contribute towards outcomes at school. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) practiced at Emirates British Nursery recognises the importance of communication and language development and provides opportunities for children to experience a rich language environment, develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves, and speak and listen in a variety of situations. Here are some of the best strategies to improve toddler speech:
1. Read together with your child
It’s no secret that children who are read too early in life, tend to do better in school. But do you know just how many more words they are exposed to? According to research, children who have picture books read to them are exposed to possibly 1 million more words than those children who are not read to before they start school! EBN has a daily story time where our professional staff read aloud to foster love of learning and literacy in children from an early age.
2. Always use proper language
Talking to your toddler can help them learn language at a younger age, and it’s easier than you might think. The more you talk to your child, the easier it will be for them to understand language. Let them know about your day or talk about anything else that comes to mind. Be sure to use simple words and short sentences when possible. While it’s adorable when little ones use words incorrectly or use baby talk, leave it to them and try not to use baby talk yourself. Don’t feel like you need to correct them—just say the proper word when you respond to them. At EBN, we pride ourselves on being a place where children are taught by teachers who speak English as a native language or are fluent to a very high standard, making them the ideal role models for our children to copy.
3. Socialise with your toddler
A natural way that children learn language is through the use of exposure: when they hear it, they will be able to understand it better. They also learn better when they hear it from multiple sources, because they can get a good understanding of what something means by hearing it from different people. This means that children will also pick up different accents from around the nursery that will add on to their language database from an early age.
4. Give your child choices
Children are naturally curious and are always seeking to learn. However, it’s important to remember that children who are not exposed to many things in their early years might feel overwhelmed, which may result in them not expressing themselves. Encouraging communication by giving children choices can help encourage communication. Ask them which fruit they want or toy they would like to play with. If your toddler points or gestures their response, encourage them to use their words. In line with this objective, Emirates British Nurseries are well equipped with stimulating environments to develop children’s vocabulary.
5. Expand on toddler’s words
The EYFS aims to help children learn about words, numbers, and letters. However, some toddlers will either use one-word commands or point to an item they want instead of asking for it. What you can do is act as your child’s interpreter and help them understand the names of certain items or expand the word into a sentence. If you notice your child using one-word commands or pointing at objects, then ask them what they want by using a question like: “Do you want a biscuit?” If they say yes, then give them a biscuit, or if they say no then don’t give them anything else. Follow up with something like: “Do you want an orange?” This will help them understand that words can be used in different ways depending on how they are used. Don’t forget to praise your child when they use two-word commands such as “Come here!” or “What’s happening?”
6. Make learning language fun!
In our professional experience, language development for children is best supported in a playful and rich language environment full of stories, songs, rhymes, signs, talk and imaginative play, these are all thoroughly covered in our daily activities at our state-of-the-art facility. We believe that the most important thing for children to learn is how to communicate with one another. We work hard to ensure that every child who comes through our doors receives the support they need to communicate effectively with their peers and staff throughout the day.
At EBN, we take pride in our ability to develop the communication skills of our young audience. We believe that communication is essential for success in life, and we work hard to help our children develop these skills. It is key to remember all children learn at different rates and are all unique learners. We are proud of our track record of success in this area and are always working on new and innovative ways to help them develop these skills.