24 Months 3 Weeks – Concept of Recurrence

Roman wanting more chips At this point your child may have graduated from using just “more” to get more of an item.  You are going to see more novel word combinations such as “I want that too” or “I want another one”.  The best way to encourage these phrases is by verbally modeling them yourself and creating opportunities for your children to use them.  

To create these opportunities, only give your children a little bit of each item.  For instance, if their eating Cheerios just give them 5 since they are obviously going to want more.  You can then show it to them in your hand to motivate a phrase that requires recurrence (or a fancy word for more!).  

There are many times throughout the day you can do this such as mealtime, snack time, play time (e.g. – withholding blocks), story time (e.g. – do not turn the page and have them ask for  more of the book), bath time, etc.  We love finding fun, new ways to extend phrases!

24 Months 1 Week – Answering a Variety of “Wh” Questions

Roman with dino capThe most difficult part of answering a “wh” questions is actually knowing the meaning of the “wh” word. For instance, you have to know that “who” is asking for a person, “where” is asking for a place, “what” is asking for a thing, “when” is referring to a time, and “why” is asking for a reason. “When” and “where” may still be too complicated for this age, but it’s always good to throw it in here and there.

When talking about “who” you can stick to basic things like looking through a photo album to label family members names or you can make it harder as in “Who drives a bus?”.  Visual support is always welcome at this age and can be in the form of pictures, illustrations in books, videos, etc.  And remind them that “who” is asking for a person.    

As for “what”, it could be as simple as asking “What is this?” while using a flashcard, reading a book, etc.  This usually only encourages a one-word response since it is not open-ended.  You can make it slightly more complicated by saying “What do you see?”, “What do you need?”, etc.  This allows for them to use a start phrase such as “I see a duck”.  You can then go onto more difficult questions such as “What does a cow say?”, “What do you wear when it’s hot?”  

When referring to “where” they have to know that you are asking about a place, so we find that when you’re walking down the street, driving, etc. it is helpful to talk about where you are going.  You can even talk about the immediate here and now and ask “Where are you right now?” (e.g. – at home, in the car, in the stroller, etc.).  It also gradually helps them understand concepts that are not tangible such as “Where is daddy?” (e.g. – work, on a business trip, etc.) – actual pictures of daddy at his workplace would also be great!

23 Months 3 Weeks – Playing Doctor & How to Encourage Language

Roman loves flowers By this time your toddler is really getting a handle of basic body parts such as eyes, nose, mouth, legs, etc.  It’s a perfect time to build on that during play.  For instance, you can use it while playing a game of tickling, modified Simon Says, or our favorite pretend play with a doctor kit.

A medical kit contains a ton of items such as a bandaid, stethoscope, needle, thermometer, etc. and it gives your child a chance to act out a familiar routine.  If your child is labeling individual body parts, you can use the pretend play to expand to 2-3 word phrases.  If you’re focused on your nose you can say “Uh Oh!  Nose (is) broken!” or “Oh no!  (My) nose hurts!  Many children find it funny when “something goes wrong”, so the language will stand out to them!

Later on, you can expand work on more advanced body parts such as “elbow” and requesting specific items such as “shot”.  It’s also a way to work on initiating questions such as “Are you okay?”, “What hurts?”, “What happened?”, etc.  You can even work on commenting using temperature such as “You feel hot”.  It even works on the skills of empathy and how others could be feeling.  All in all, it’s a great way to expand their imagination and may even make them less scared of going to the real doctor!  

23 Months 2 Weeks – Never Too Early to Work on the /s/ Sound

Do you hear your toddler producing /s/ with their tongue out? It’s never too early to model the correct production and try to correct it.  Lisps are often very difficult to correct as a child gets older, so our motto is the earlier the better!

This part is too complicated for toddlers, but just so you know as an adult we produce the /s/ sound by putting our tongue tip on the alveolar ridge (bumpy ridge right behind our top teeth).  You can show a toddler this by having them look at you or looking at a mirror while you overemphasize the sound to try to show them where their tongue goes.  Sometimes we even like to use a tongue depressor or our finger to show them where our bumpy ridge is – for older children we even put a little bit of peanut butter on the spot so they know where their tongue is supposed to touch.  

TAG As for the manner in which the sound is produced it is called a fricative, which means it is a “hissing” type sound and air escapes through the teeth causing friction.  One thing you can do which works with my toddler is bringing your teeth together or telling them to bite down while producing /s/.  This may sound a bit exaggerated, but it makes sure their tongue does not come out.

Many other articulation errors are age-appropriate and can be categorized into phonological processes or patterns, but it is definitely important to keep an eye out and always model correct production.  These issues sometimes grow into articulation disorders (which later may manifest themselves into problems with reading and writing) and you want your child to be understood by all listeners and to be able to form friendships easily.  

TAGWe have two resources if you need further help. Our interactive iBooks: Vowels & Diphthongs and our Consonants iBook.

22 Months 1 Week – Combining Chores with Following Directions

Roman dancing. It’s never too early to start learning about chores and how to help out in the house!Now that your child is getting better at following directions feel free to intertwine basic “chores” into the daily routine.  

It could be as simple as cleaning up. From an early age we started the clean up song even when he did not speak just so he got used to the melody and words. At this point you can sing it along with them and see if they hum along or imitate any of the words. Just hearing the song will trigger cleaning up after playtime or even mealtime.  Once they get used to the routine they will begin cleaning up on their own, sometimes even singing the song all by themselves!

Specific directions you can give is “Give me your cup/plate/fork and let’s put it in the sink” (they most likely cannot reach yet even with a step stool, but it’s good to practice), “Put your ____ in the dishwasher”, “Throw it in the garbage”, “Go get me a paper towel”, “Put your socks away” (or any clothing), “Walk the dog”, etc.  We even found working on colors while doing laundry is an excellent receptive language task (e.g. – dark vs. light or putting all the red socks together).

22 Months – Encouraging “I feel…” Sentences

Roman is happy. The world is an exciting place and it comes with lots of feelings for little ones (and adults), so we have to make sure we give them a voice to talk about how they feel.  For instance, my son is starting to get the concept of “scary” if it’s a ghost, lion, etc. and he will comment saying phrases such as “ghost scary”.

TAG We recommend starting off with basic feelings such as happy vs. sad.  You can practice smiling and frowning in front of the mirror and labeling the feelings with one word.  We also started by looking at pictures of babies in Mrs. Mustard’s Baby Feelings book and our Baby Feeling ibook since they are clear depictions of happy vs. sad.  We also talked about feelings while watching videos or television shows to make screen time an interactive experience.

You can also talk about feelings as they happen since this is the prime age for tantrums!  For instance, if someone took their toy away you can label the feeling with a sentence such as “I know that makes you feel SAD”.  As they get the hang of it, you can add more complicated feelings in such as excited, scary, surprised, etc.  They love imitating your facial expressions and even pretending!  For instance, you can do role-play with dinosaurs and pretend to hide under a blanket or pillows to pretend to be very scared!  Targeting feelings through story time and art are also fantastic ways to go over feelings and using that starter phrase “I feel ____”, “She feels ____”, “He feels ____”, “They feel ____”, etc.  Have a HAPPY day! ☺

21 Months 3 Weeks – Is your Child Under the Weather?  Phrases to Encourage

Roman and books

It’s the saddest thing when kiddos are sick, but if they can express themselves when they are it makes it 10 times easier for us!  Here are some go-to phrases to teach and model for your child.

“I don’t feel good” or “I feel sick”

“Tummy hurt” or any “Body part + hurt”

Comments such as “Yucky” or “Gross”

“I need sleep” or anything else they may need such as an ice pack or even a hug

“I want daddy”

Roman with more booksMany will also ask “wh” questions like “why” and it’s a prefect opportunity to explain to them what is going on in their body!  Hope the germs stay away and you all stay healthy!  Summer is right around the corner ☺