Watching your child's speech grow as they start to communicate more with you can be so fun! Though every child develops differently, it's helpful to know a general timeline of what your child should be saying at different ages. Between 2 to 3 years-old, most children move from speaking one word at a time ("Mommy!") to putting words together to make phrases ("Hi, Mommy!"). If you notice your child isn't doing this, or you just want to give him or her a boost in language, try incorporating this simple strategy!
Add to it!
Here's a simple technique you can use to expand your child's language. When your child says one word, repeat it back while also adding another word. For example, while on a walk if your child points and says, "doggie!", you could comment, "big doggie!". The words you add can come before or after the word your child says. If you and your child are playing with race cars and one falls off the table, he or she might say, "uh oh!". You can add another word such as, "uh oh, car!". The more you show your child how to form short phrases and sentences like this, the more likely they are to later combine words themselves!
Fun, Fun, Fun!
Learning language should be fun! You may feel silly speaking in smaller sentences, and certainly don't need to do that ALL of the time. But when you add on 1 more word to what your child says, he or she will have a more attainable model of what they could say. Highlight the word you added by saying it a different way- maybe louder or with a different tone of voice. That makes it stick out more to your child and therefore he or she may later imitate a similar phrase. If your child says "baby", you could say "little baby!", saying the word "little" with a higher pitched voice.
By incorporating this simple tool into the way you communicate with your child daily, he or she can move from speaking in single words to communicating even more with you by using sentences!
Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
Proud Member of The Story Box Family