Any suggestions on how to encourage my little one to talk?

Janna - posted on 02/11/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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My husband and I have been trying to encourage my 21 month old daughter to talk but she just doesn't seem interested. When we use the good ol method, "Can you say___?" she just covers her face and acts like we can't see her. It's kinda cute but I am a little worried. Any suggestions??

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Stephanie - posted on 02/22/2010

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My 21 month old refuses to talk also. She is very smart but only talks when she wants. My mom says she will talk when she is ready. But a friend of mine had the same problem with her son and found out he was 50% deaf in both ears and thats why he did not talk you may want to talk to your Dr. about where he could get tested for that.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/21/2010

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My son is 21 months old and we have been working with him for what seems like forever to talk. We tell him what things are when he points to them, when we hand him something, when we read to him. We even watch baby einstein movies. He say's some basic's but wasn't really talking I too was very worried. Then a week ago he started repeating us out of the blue. He is not using small word sentences like they say he should but he is finally getting it. Hang in there and try not to judge her by where your friends kids are at. That's what I was doing and I was making myself a nervous wreck. I really think that when they are ready they'll talk.

Ciel - posted on 02/21/2010

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You shouldn't worry so much. My 21 month old daughter speaks a lot more than her 4 yr. old brother ever did at that age. Like others have said before, it is important that she understands you because you know that her brain is digesting everything you say. I don't do the "say this" with mine but more or less try to have conversations. I ask her what her name is, and while she does know her name is Emily, she continues to call herself "baby". Reading is also important but I tend to sing a lot. I make up songs about what I am doing and I think it makes "learning" words more fun. Having developmental standards are nice they can also cause parents just as much distress. Good luck.

Angela - posted on 02/21/2010

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My 21 month old twin boys are also not speaking. I read to them everynight and have also started talking to them about everything I am doing. All the child development books seem to suggest that they should have a vocab of about 50 plus words so of course I started to worry. It seemed kind of silly to take them to a doctor just because they didn't speak.

All of these comments have helped reassure me that there is nothing abnormal in this, and I have also been told by friends that as long as they can comprehend what you are saying there is no need to worry about their development.

At the moment they are communicating through grunting and pointing (which gets them what they want) and I have been advised that since they are male, this will not change for the rest of their lives!

Swapna - posted on 02/20/2010

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Nothing to worry... Just tell her stories with books having big pictures of animals, birds, sing rhymes, spend lots of time chatting with her whole day...she will be very happy...and ask her to repeat those rhymes , stories while taking bath, having food...take her out and explain the places around her....my daughter loves all these and she is also running 21 months...she talks very much...bt of course not big sentences...

Carey - posted on 02/20/2010

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Well there is no sure fire way to get your toddler to talk, she is still speaking to you. When she wants something does she point or show some kind of reaction that is a form a speech. If you ask her to point at something and she does that is also speech. Some children are affraid to talk because they have never said "normal" words. Try small words such as cat hat dog ball etc. Keep repeating everything right down to the activities you are doing..i.e; we are walking into the bedroom,kitchen, turning the light on etc. Explain things as you do them gives the toddlers a better understanding of the world around them. At this age most children speak between 10 and 50 words. Don't expect a long conversation over night. The more you play and interact with her the better it will get ( well for you because she'll start talking). She will get the hang of it ... it's one of those hurry up and do things but then it'll be one of those why did i want you to talk things because thats when the "why" starts...lol anyways just give her time, p.s. the more imagination you have durring play time helps alot...act like them get on the floor crawl and run and dance and sing these all help get them to interact with you and the more interested they are in you the funnier you are the more likely she will respond to you. Children respond faster to laughter than anything else...try it :)

Erica - posted on 02/20/2010

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My advise is just keep talking to her. I have found that that is the best way... we read every night and talk talk talk. Instead of pointing to things and having her answer yes or no we encourage her to say what she wants even if we have to say it first and then she just repeats it. It is also good to hold something up to your face, near your mouth and say what it is so she is forced to look at your mouth and the item you ar holding so that she can put them together.

Michelle - posted on 02/20/2010

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I talk to my son all day long. Literally! He just turned 22 months, and I was concerned because he doesn't say things on command. He says what he wants to say, and only when he wants to say it. One thing that I have found that helps to get him to say specific words is to sing it to him. It started at Christmas time with Fa La La La La La, and has gone on to phrases like "do it every day" "I love Mommy" "gonna take a bath" and "Best Baby Sissy" I think that since he doesn't realize I am trying to get him to repeat it, he just sings along with me. I hope this helps!

Ashlyn - posted on 02/20/2010

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I think it helped a little that we taught my older son some signs too (only about 6)...he learned it got him what he wanted without crying, etc. I was worried it would stunt his vocabulary, but he started saying the words with the signs & still does (21 months now). He doesn't have a huge vocabulary, & still speaks a LOT of baby-talk jibberish. I try to read to him every night but it's been difficult lately with our now 4 month old.

Lisa - posted on 02/20/2010

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Kids are all very different. absolutely no pressure at all, shes only 21 months old. I have a 3 year old that didnt talk until he was 2 1/2 and I also have a 21 month old and she started talking at 9 months. There is no set time for them to start talking. its like potty training, when they are good and ready then they will do it:) No worries at all.

Philana - posted on 02/20/2010

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Just keep talking to her! My little guy isn't talking much at 21 months either, but I just keep talking about everything I see or hear and he will spontaneously say the word eventually. I gave up trying the "say____", it just wasn't working (my oldest son did everything on command like that!) I'm always talking, but he's got more words that he did 2 months ago (we actually had a speech eval due to frustrations he was having because he couldn't communicate-but therapy hasn't started yet-love early intervention system-they qualify you for services, but it takes months to find a therapist to do the therapy). I also have taught my kids sign before they could talk, which helps them along-when he doesn't have a word for something he does have a sign. Signing is easy-make up your own for something that you use frequently (you can also search the web for the signs for eat, play, more, done, etc....)!

Jill - posted on 02/20/2010

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Yes, the most important thing is that she understands you. My LO also covers her face when shes afraid to try saying a word. I would try to get any sound out of her mouth and then praise her (i.e. - if I asked her to say dog and she said "og" and then covers her face, I would then say "right, og" and tell her good try, etc). As she got more confident I would repeat the word correctly and she has seemed to become less shy to try more words. I also tried to avoid the "can you say __" confrontation and used different questions or would just repeat the word (even in a silly voice) to try to get my LO to say the word. Just keep trying new things and it will happen! Good luck!

Rachel - posted on 02/20/2010

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My almost 21 month old twins arent talking a lot either but they do understand what we say and can follow instructions. (Ours are growing up in a bilingual environment so they will take longer to speak). I would recommend reading, if you don´t already, and when you´re out and about point and name familiar objects: dog, tree, etc. Mine love their books. I got some superb ones on Amazon which are bright, colourful and encourage talking. They are books with hard pages as mine chew everything still! Good luck!

Rachael - posted on 02/19/2010

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I have heard lots of stories from family & friends of their children who didn't talk until late into the 2 yrs. BUT when they started talking, they spoke sentences and spoke clearly. Every child is different. I would mention it to your pediatrician to see what he/she says about it, but I wouldn't be surprised if we hear from you later on saying.. "she finally spoke and in sentences!!"

Albert Einstein spoke his first words at age 4 saying, "The soup is too hot". His parents were also concerned about how he'd never spoke a word so when he spoke this sentence his parents, being greatly relieved, asked why he had never said a word before. Albert replied: "Because up to now everything was in order".

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Do you read to her? We started with the touchy feely animal books and made all the animals sounds. Jellybean especially like to roar like the tiger and moo like the cow. :) After she learned the sounds, we switched up we would say the sound and she would name the animal., and then proceeded to other one word per page books. We also identified everything we were doing and talked to her like she was an adult. Sounded kind of silly in Walmart talking to a baby like that but so what!

Stephanie - posted on 02/11/2010

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Our daughter had "performance anxiety" too! I was doing the same thing, asking her if she could "say _______". I was worried about her until I picked her up from daycare one day a few months ago (my husband usually does) and found her chatting away. We started just speaking all the time, which I realized we should have been doing all along with her... even acts as trivial as walking through a door warranted pointing out we were going through a door, or down the stairs ("down, sown, down"), and you should see some of the looks I get at Costco, etc as I "discuss" with her what we should buy. She started participating and responding more every day, and now, speaks a lot compared to a lot of kids her age! ... and I get a lot less odd looks at Costco since she actually responds most of the time... Just yesterday, I made a conscious effort to tell her that my watch was a clock like the clock in one of her books, then she pointed out to me this morning it is a watch! I guess I should check with her teachers at daycare which words they have been learning!



Anyhow, my point is, you are not alone. Because I was so anxious, our doctor kept re-assuring us that receptive speech is much more important than talking right now. Can she understand when you ask her to for example. put something in the garbage, or give something to daddy? If so, I would say don't worry based on my experience. But, you could always check with your doc, especially if she/he is someone you trust. Our doc had to turn around, go across the room and pretend to be engrossed in something else to get a single peep out of her at her last appointment!

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