My twin girls are constantly communicating with my husband and me, but it's not necessarily through words. They reach, point, fuss, and gesture their way through the day. Keep in mind that communication is not just words and talking!
I've been working as a speech-language pathologist for 12 years now (wow....I just realized I finished graduate school in 2001....time flies!), and one thing I've noticed from many parents of toddlers is that they don't realize that their toddler is communicating with them. Some parents think the only way to communicate is through words, but there are so many other ways too! Some of these ways include:
- Pointing-your toddler may point to something he/she wants you to see and look at. He/she may also point to wanted items such as a cup of juice or a ball.
- Gesturing-your toddler may gesture for you to follow him/her or gesture to something he/she wants. He/she may gesture by showing you something he/she is holding like a toy or book.
- Fussing-this is not my favorite, but it's a toddler's way of getting his/her point across to you!
- Reaching-a toddler may reach for you to pick him/her up or reach toward something he/she wants to play with.
Just last night, my husband and I were playing with our girls before bed. They love to sing a song my mother taught us called "Trot, Trot to Boston." We bounce them up and down and gently push them back at the end of the song. They love the bouncing and pushing back part. To let us know that they wanted to sing the song again, they climbed on us and started bouncing up and down. That was their way of saying, "Hey, I want to do that again. It's so much fun!" My twin girls also love to play peek-a-boo. They grab a blanket, look at us, and put it over the heads. They are telling us that they want their daddy and me to pull the blanket off of them and say "boo!"
Start paying attention to your toddler's communication cues. Your child is really trying to communicate with you to the best of his or her ability. Of course the end goal should be to use words, but it may take your toddler some time until he or she is able to verbally express wants and needs. Continue to talk as much as you can to your toddler and model the words that he or she may be trying to say.
To learn more speech and language tips to help your toddler talk and communicate faster, be sure to check out my book on Amazon Kindle, Talking With Todders - 52 Tips to Boost Speech and Language Skills.