encouraging my son to talk

Laura - posted on 11/26/2010 ( 26 moms have responded )

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My son is almost 18 months old and still has only said about 3 words. I have been told that I could be too perceptive of his needs so he doesn't need to ask for things. He has been getting more and more frustrated with me now though, because I can't understand exactly what he wants. I think this is a good thing. I hope this means he will get fed up and just start talking. But this has been going on for a long time. What can I do to encourage him to start talking?

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Bridget - posted on 11/27/2010

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Hi Laura, I found my little one (nearly 18 months) just started saying words one day. He went from your stock standard mummy and daddy to now over 10 words (puppy, car, tree, ball, football, no, more). He also makes noises or sounds (eg. opens and closes mouth for fish, and cack cack for duck) for certain words he cannot say. It all started after we started reading his 2 favourite books day after day for about 3 months (no exaggeration). I would make him point to the things I was asking and then he just started saying the words. I now find him closely watching my mouth and trying to mimic me when I repeat words over and over. A good technique is to say the word in 3 different sentences (eg. the ball is blue, bounce the ball, catch the ball) so that they associate the name for the object otherwise they just start using the word for anything and everything (for us everything was puppy for a while). Just be patient and before you know it he will be talking non stop. Good luck!!

Krystle - posted on 12/05/2010

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My son is the same way! He's nearly 18 m and only says "dada", but I can tell that he knows a lot of words.
1) It's more common for a boy to speak later, but still is developmentally fine.
2) Some baby's will "practice talking more" so are more vocal. While other's "practice in their head" the words -- it's like, they want to be sure they are saying the word right, when they say it. :)

I wouldn't worry about it yet. :)

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my daughter is a big talker lol she is actualy forming a version of sentences already. the biggest things i d o to help her are reading and talking to her. i explain what i am doing to her when we do things together (like cooking) and we read A LOT!!! we go to the library every week for new books. i also sing a lot and there are a few songs she can sing herself. that is my best advice :) also dont forget that every child is different and he might just be taking his time. where as my daughter is very intellectual she didnt walk until she was like around 16 months. so it just depends on them :)

Sara - posted on 01/18/2011

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my son is 19 months old and what my hubby and i started talking to him when he fussed for something, like when he would start we would ask him if h was hungry,tired,thirsty ect. it took about a week now he is doing excellent about using his words and now we are getting the new random ones like tonight he started saying me.

Tara - posted on 01/18/2011

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My son was saying a few words and then one day he just exploded with his speech. It will happen just give it time. My doctor said that the average 18 month old should say "mama, dada" plus 3-6 other words. If you are really concerned, call your doctor. I'm sure he is fine though.

Amanda - posted on 01/17/2011

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my son was the same he will be 19 months in 2 days and just the past few weeks he's really starting to pick up more words, all babies are different tho, I wouldn't worry to much about at this point in time:)

Lauralea - posted on 01/10/2011

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My son loves non-fiction books, especially the first 100 words dictionary type. He is all about real pictures rather than cartoon like which I really think helped his language development. I also talk to him in the same tone of voice I use with other people. I converse with him about everything he does, or we do together. My son is talking pretty well but I talk all of the time so I think he may have an active model - LOL! In my experience in working with children, boys do tend to develop many skills later then girls. They are often more hands-on by far, then girls, and loud and daring. I bet you are doing a great job and he will move along at the pace he needs to be at. Good luck!

Teressa - posted on 01/07/2011

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My son did the same thing so when he would show me things, i would say the name of it, not to make him say it, but to help him understand that everything has a name and therefore encouraging him to one day soon start using his words. Ny daughter on the other hand was tongue tied (meaning the part of the tongue that connects to the bottom our her mouth was smaller than normal) which was why she would not talk. And she did not talk until after she turned 2.

Keisha - posted on 01/06/2011

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My son is 18 months and he says please and almost everything else on his time though. I ALWAYS say- SAY dog, SAY cat. So he is learning that way. When he wants a chocalate chip cookie. I don't even have to ask him to say please. lol
I know every mom in the world is doing a great job and everyone is on the right track. They will talk and speak when they are ready. I suggest reading, talking to them and Your Baby Can Read has a great dvd they can see and listen to. Learning starts at home. ;)

Brittany - posted on 12/12/2010

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READ! Ask any child expert and they will tell you that reading to your child promotes language development. Also experts say that teaching young children 10-12 nursery rhymes also promotes language development too- and what toddler doesn't love "Patty Cake" or "Itsy Bitsy Spider." As others have said identifying daily objects and people and being consistent with the words you use will make it easier for him to start to associate the word to the object/person.

Resmi - posted on 12/12/2010

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This kid might be your first. Usually, first ones tend to start a bit low. That is not a big deal. My daughter is 18 months now and she tries to repeat or rather mimic whatever we say. Boy kids usually are found to be late starters, exceptions for sure. Please try to have more time with him, make your speech slow and more clear. start with small words. repeat most commonly used words often, and be a patient listener when he talks back. even if you donot understand a single word he speaks, encourage him to speak more by nodding ur head and a hum or so to let him know that u listen. Cheer him up when he tries to speak. Hope this helps.

Rachelle - posted on 12/09/2010

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my daughter is also 18months and she likes to say the first sound of the word so dog is dor she says ma for mum and da for dad, she is starting now to start saying the words not too clearly.

Patricia - posted on 12/08/2010

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my son is 18 months too and only says about 3-5 words! make sure you read to him everyday, don't let him watch much TV, and talk to him constantly during the day! its also really helpful to point at things when you talk and try to act things out so he understands better what your saying. oh yeah, and you might want to get his hearing checked too if you haven't already recently. my son's doctor said one of the most common reasons babies cant talk is because they cant hear! my son is being evaluated soon to see if he needs speech therapy, so you might want to talk to his pediatrician about it if you think that could help.

Rox - posted on 12/08/2010

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my son is 18 months yesterday and he really doesn't say anything but hi.he understands almost everything we tell him tho.ive been trying to point at things more and saying what they are and just hope he picks it up.i know this really cant help but being patent is all you could really do.they all learn at there own pace.

Nina - posted on 12/07/2010

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My daughter is 17 months. Her speech is very garbled still and I am the only one usually that picks it out. He may be saying things and you just have to listen in a different way then when you listen to an adult. The other ideas people have posted are great! Also, if you son is fully mobile in terms of walking, I wouldn't be worried at all. It will come.

Celeste - posted on 12/06/2010

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I had one friend who's son didn't talk until he was 4 (he had an older sister who talked for him), he's a grown man and fine now! My son is 18 months and is very chatty, I think it's partly personality types. One thing that helped was showing him a child app on my cell phone that does animal names and noises, he wants to see it all the time and mimic it. Learning visually or audibly or kin-esthetically (through experience or hands) is different for everyone. One other idea is to talk him through everything HE is doing. "You are picking up the ball... you are eating eggs"... it'll click soon! I wouldn't worry yet.

Michelle - posted on 12/05/2010

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I have been having a similar problem with my son. He has been babbling a lot more lately, but mainly will just take my, or whoever is closest, hand and take them where he wants to go then points and grunts until we get it right. We have been working with him with books asking him questions about what is going on in the pictures and talking about our surroundings. For example when we go to the store we talk about the food around us and the different cars in the parking lot. Basically everyone I talk to says that kids develop differently and it's nothing to worry about. My husband had some physical issues growing up and was speaking full sentences when he was nine months old but my older brother really didn't start talking until he was three years old when I started talking. They will start when they are ready, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating!

Stephanie - posted on 12/04/2010

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My 17 month old actually talks way more than I expected her to but she has 2 older sisters so I think that's why she talks alot. Suprisingly she can actually talk in sentences that are clear with about 5-6 words. Now my 6 year old, she was the same way when she was a baby. My 3 year old, it took her forever to start talking and she still doesn't talk very good. I think all kids are different and learn at their own pace. If your baby is saying anything at all then I think he's fine and will talk when he's ready. Don't worry yourself : )

Amanda - posted on 12/04/2010

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my daughter never said much at all either, for the longest time, i constantly felt like she was way behind all the other kids her age. she has been saying Mama and Dada since like 8mths but up until about 15mths thats ALL she said then boom one day she just started repeating everything we said, like simple words. and since then she seems to be learning 2-5 new words a week, its crazy. i found reading to her alot, like just simple books, with pictures and 1-3 words a page helped alot, also trying to get them to explain to you what they want/need, even if you already know, they need to learn the words associated with it and by you helping them understand what things are, they will beable to get that message accross to you easier. I try not to let shilo get TOO frustrated when trying to tell me what she wants, especially if i already know, but i work at it a little each day. I've even started showing her ways to sign to me what she wants, if i know she cant say the word or gets too frustrated trying to. Like if she wants a snack, she rubs her tummy and points to the cupboard(where her snacks are) sometimes she will say "ack" haha which means snack. if she wants juice, she will come take my hand and take me to the fridge and try and open it, so i will open it for her and ask her to tell me what she wants, ill give her 2-3 options, milk, water, juice, and i try and help her say the words instead of just pointing, but if she cant it get the word out and i can tell shes getting upset, i allow her to just point. she can sort of say juice, but its hard to understand, i know what she means because i hear her say it whenever she has a drink and she says Mmk for milk lol. anyways it just takes time, as long as they understand things when you talk to them, then at least they are learning, and eventually the words will come out, hes prob just soaking it all in, and then one day hes just going to fire off like 10 words lol

Filomena - posted on 12/03/2010

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my son is the same age, but with talking he doesnt reallly say much or any real words but ive decided to be patient and just wait for it. I have neices and nephews who are all different, some speak fully before 2, others dont so just a waiting game for me.

[deleted account]

Have you tried signing? It could possibly ease some of the frustration for both of you and it helps language skills later in life. Also, if you don't already do this, it may feel silly at first, but always describe what you are doing while you do it in front of him. E.G. "mommy is washing her hands, mommy is turning on the light, mommy is opening the window etc"

Faridah - posted on 11/30/2010

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You need to be patient with him,when he is talking try to follow his actions like eye directions. Give him attention by involving him into a conversation as if you are talking to a friend.Involve him in some activities may be when you are cooking let him participate and lastly you start reading and singing for him.Another thing don't be anxious,the mere fact that he can say those 3 words shows that he has the potential to talk and babies adopt differently some are a little bit behind some milestones and others are ahead.

Kat - posted on 11/28/2010

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my son's the same way (he'll be 18 months 12/11). it's usually "mama" and "dada" and "baba." he'll sound like the Tazmanian Devil, like "hfiehfoahffheaoijslfk what? dhaeoidupqajda" like he'll say Taz-like sounds then stop and say something like "what" or "dog" then do the Taz sounds again. it's frustrating. but his doc isnt worried. she said boys are usually slower to say words, and that if he dont start by 24 months, then it's time to worry. but i cant help but worry tho. i'd just keep talking to him, pointing things out in books, or around the house/store/etc. that's what i've been doing lately, hoping he'll catch on.

Laura - posted on 11/27/2010

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Thanks that helps :) I do notice that he watches my mouth very carefully when I talk to him and when I label things around the room. He understands a lot and follows instructions really well too and . The funny thing is, just today he said, 'garden'. Just out of the blue (he has a plastic fisher price garden that he loves to play in).

Amy - posted on 11/27/2010

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my son is almost eighteen months and it is the same way. people tell me the same thing. but i think he is starting to repeat some of the words i say. but not clearly. i think they will catch on soon

Jennifer - posted on 11/27/2010

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My nearly 3 yr old son just started talking in May (at about 28 months) some kids just take longer! I had him evaluated for the birth to 3 intervention program and he started speech therapy. If you are concerned you could always go that route. He has come leaps from where he was at even 6 months ago, and now that he is saying words we are working on pronunciation and saying words together.

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