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!
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).
We recently did a post about building phrases with “me” and “mine” such as “my shoes”. Your child is very observant and he or she is beginning to know what specific items belong to certain people. Often many of us are (unfortunately) attached to our phone these days so a common phrase you may hear is “Mommy phone”. The more they see us with an item the more they will associate it with us.
We like to start off with clothing since a jacket, for example, is something we wear every day in the fall/winter. They may be imitating or spontaneously saying “jacket” or “coat”, but you can now begin modeling possession such as “mommy coat”. Other things to target could be toys or other personal items. For instance, you could choose something that belongs to them such as “Roman’s dinosaur”. They may not say the ‘s part quite yet, but just to get them thinking about WHO it belongs to is a big step.
These techniques have also been helpful with behavior. Let’s say your child is trying to rip the papers of a magazine that you are reading. To put an end to this behavior, you can say “This is Mommy’s magazine and this is Roman’s book… we read magazines and books”. The more you use the same language, the more likely they will catch on, listen, and say it back!
Bath Time is a fun time! And when children are having fun you can get tons of language out of them! We start out by making sure the bath itself is extra motivating. There are a variety of simple toys you can get such as books, stacking cups, sea animals, water squirters, basketball nets, boats, fishing games, etc. We even like to change the color of the water with some Crayola Color Bath Drops! Some of our favorite bath toys are made by Alex Toys and Boon Inc.
Some expressive language concepts that you can target include: prepositions (e.g. – “under the water”), common phrases such as “turn on/off”, commenting (e.g.- temperature, “Oooo watch out for the red crab!”), action words (e.g. – “swimming”, “splashing”), requests (e.g. – “I need a towel”), and so much more! As for receptive language skills, there are so many directions you can give involving prepositions (e.g. – “put the dolphin on top of the water”), actions (e.g. – “make the starfish jump”), body parts (e.g. – “touch your hair”), multi-steps (e.g. – “give me the fish and then give me the net”), etc. It’s a great time to play and work with your child on anything because you are face-to-face with them and you both have each other’s undivided attention!
Have you noticed that your child recently thinks everything is theirs and will often say “mine” or something similar such as “me” or “my”. It’s definitely early for learning a variety of pronouns, but you can begin with the difference between “mine” and “yours” to make your child aware that items also belong to other people. It the beginning of sharing and empathy!
To start you can show them things that are certainly theirs such as their straw cup, bib, blanket, stuffed animal, etc. and encourage their production of “mine”. Talk about how that is “your blankie”. Then present them with items that they associate with you such as your phone, jacket, shoes, etc. and say “mine”.
You can then talk to them about “yours” by using the same objects for both of you. For instance, if you are both holding ice cream cones you can say “mine” and then “yours” by pointing at the ice cream cones. The more they understand this concept the less likely they will be upset if they do not get to use your computer or phone when you are working from home or just writing a simple email!
Do you have a jokester on your hands? Kids at this age tend to really start testing their limits and boundaries. While they are doing so they develop quite a sense of humor on their own. And there are many ways to encourage a healthy sense of humor as well!
We find a lot of “Uh oh” situations tend to lead to lots of smiles and laughs! You can do super silly things like put a ball on your head, pretend to sneeze, and make it fall down. Try even making silly faces, making your hair all messy, doing silly dance moves, and more. They will try to copy all of your models and be the funniest kid on the block.
Even at this age, playing peek-a-boo and hide and seek is a fun activity especially when it involves loud noises and funny movements. My son tends to love seeing things that do not belong with each other. For example, he loves putting his gigantic train on his train table with the rest of the small trains. Or he pretends to sit in a very tiny chair that he knows he will not fit on. You can even do the same with puzzles or shape sorters (e.g. – making the fish puzzle piece go where the cat is supposed to go). There are so many possibilities! Just keep laughing and having fun!
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