How can I teach my one year old to use words?

Jennifer - posted on 04/19/2011 ( 24 moms have responded )

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He will yell "EEEE" for frustration and everything that he wants. I have been calmly, sweetly, talking to him to get him to try words, pointing, or even sign. But for the most part he just screams or fake cries when he wants attention or anything else. I am seeing the edge of a fit here. What do i do? Do i ignore it until he tries to respond as i have demonstrated? What is age appropriate?

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repitition repitition...
When my son would bring me his cup crying i would say "more please?" and wouldn't go get it right away. When I hand it back to him I say "drink thank you" etc. Eventually he learned that he could get wht he wanted faster that way. Dont get what he wants immediately instead calmly tell him the words to use 2 or 3 times first. When you do anything narrate what you are doing. My son is 20 months and wont shut up now lol. My twin nephews which are a year older than my son do the eeeee thing its horrible sounds a bit like the alarm for tornado. I would ignore him when he does the noise but praise him a lot if he makes any attemp at talking to you jibber jabber whatever tell him that big boys use their words and that he is acting like a big boy =)

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Something that's helped my 18 month old son learn more words are books that aren't stories but just pictures of objects and the words. We'd go through these books several times a day pointing everything out and saying the words. He LOVES it and it helps him identify the things around him. Sometimes he'll just walk around the house putting his hand on objects, saying the word and looking at me for approval. I always reward this with very emphatic praise and repeating what he's saying, like "Yes! That's right! Table, very good!" The screaming is age appropriate behavior though, sometimes they are just frustrated with not being able to say what they mean, or not being understood when they are trying to say a word. My son ALWAYS screamed for what he wanted for a while but like everyone else has said--use repitition! We started by calmly but firmly cutting him off and saying something like "No. No whining. Tell me what you want. Do you want...?" inserting a guess until we figured it out. After using this routine a couple months, usually I don't even have to finish with "do you want..." anymore because now he has learned what the first part means when we say "tell me what you want" and he'll stop screaming/whining and try to come up with a word. Our reaction is his reward. We say something like "OOOH!! You want yogurt?! Ok!! Very good!" very enthusiastically.

Allison - posted on 04/19/2011

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My Evalyn 4 has a speech delay, we started teaching her sign at 6 months just by watching the Baby Einstien videos, she pick up on that quickly. She still uses sign as she tries to say what she wants or needs. It's amazing to watch and communicate with her. Now her 17 month old sister started signing about 6 months ago and one day came into the kitchen and signed to her dad that she wanted to eat, so he fed her. Signing takes the frusteration out of communicating with our children who don't know how to use their words yet but want to tell us what they want. Eris 17 months can sign Eat, hot, drink, milk, banana, apple, daddy, mommy and she tries to say it as she signs it. I recommend it to anyone with children. I am a big advocate of Sign Language for children.

Andrea - posted on 04/19/2011

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Ashley hit it right on. As a Speech Pathologist I tell my parents to model what you expect at least five times if you can. Keep it to simple one word responses. As he is not using any words yet, take any vocalization that is not EEEE and reward that. You can also start by modeling and expecting a simple sign (if you already know and use them), which is easier to elicit as you can always take his hands and do the sign for him (while also saying the word). Reward that hand over hand sign as a form of communication and maybe next time he'll do it himself. Putting favorite toys out of reach but still visible or giving just part of a snack will create opportunities without as much frustration. You can always contact your local health unit to talk to a Speech Language Pathologist and let him/her be the "bad" guy as well as give more suggestions!

Shantelle - posted on 05/04/2011

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you may not even realize you are doing it but you may not be catching the small signs he IS giving you to tell you what he wants my daughter is almost 15 months and does not talk persay but perhaps his EEEE is just to get your attention because it obviously is getting it. I suggest as soon as he says this look him straight in the eye and say "ok i hear you what would you like ?"If he is not yet able to verbalize what he wants dont be frustrated he is only 1 and all children develop differently. If you cannot understand(you will in time) what he is saying ask him some simple questions "are you wet and pat his diaper(and check to be sure)Ask "do you want food?" and take him to the fridgeStill nothing Ask "do you want a drink?" and show him a cup and dont forget sometimes they just want us to play and spend time with them. As your child begins to make out small sounds it is important to sit with them and mime and mimic each other when you say drink listen carefully to the sound he makes these could be the small keys you may not be picking up on perhaps all you seem to be hearing is EEEE but perhaps it is truly in the tone he uses that will make a difference in you understanding him and correcting him.My son would not talk outright until he was 2 1/2 but i learned to pick up on the differences first and than to correct he is now 3 and talks in full sentences he was just unsure how to articulate to other people!

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Cassandra - posted on 10/21/2014

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I am also have problem with my son is now 15 months old he don't say other words or don't do like other toddler do. Do I have to continue read his books to him for months on? for me I am still new to this for real.

Ishani - posted on 02/22/2012

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I agree, after 12 months they just repeat what everyone else says. And when you laugh or think they entertaining or reward them, they just do it more often. My boy is 20 months and says a lot of words, when he says, please or thank you, we clap hands and show him he's done good. LOL - now whenever he says please or thank you he just claps hands for himself. They are so smart and understand EVERYTHING! They throw tantrums and that but believe me if you are calm and tell them they are doing wrong they do understand.

Jennifer - posted on 05/03/2011

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After reading all the other responses, I think I know why neither one of my children did that now. One of the first words out of Brycelyn (5) was, "Please" and "thank you." Then, after she had mastered that, I would say, "Juice, please." She caught on. Eventually I made her repeat, "Please may I have juice?" (boy was she stubborn about it at first lol until she realized she got the juice faster if she just said those words lol) word by word until she strung it together herself. And Aryen (19 months) has already gone through the, "Please," "Thank you," "Juice, please," and now is working on, "Please may I have juice?" If you prompt her with the "Please," she'll say, "please." Then I prompt her with the, "may," and she's at the point where she's stringing the words together, she'll say, "may I," and I'll say, "have," and sometimes she'll jump to "juice!" lol but I'll repeat, "HAVE...." and she'll say, "have juice!" And I'll give it to her, but still holding onto it, ask, "What do you say?" And she'll say, "Thank you." But, yeah, I was very repetitious....still, the mimicing thing is worth a try if he's not trying to copy you.

Jennifer - posted on 05/03/2011

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Have you tried doing it back to him? LOL It reminded me of something that my 5 yr olds uncle did to my niece. She used to point and make a noise at everything, too, so finally he just started doing it back to her and telling her that he doesn't understand it, either lol.
Brycelyn (the 5 yr. old) didn't talk much when she was younger, but could understand much more than I could have imagined lol. She didn't really start talking a lot until after she entered Kindergarten. Now I can't get her to shut up....lol! No, really, it's hard haha. My 19 1/2 month old is the opposite. She actually started to say things before she made one. One of the first things, other than the normal "hi" "bye" "mommy" stuff was, "What's that?" All kids are different on when they talk, etc., but since nothing you tried works, it couldn't hurt to try to do it back to him lol. Let me know how it goes!

[deleted account]

Nicole- I love your response to this question...I have a few books like that at home so I am definetly going to give this method a try!!

Diane - posted on 05/03/2011

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My daughter did this, so I taught her sign language. It is tough to be the only one with her all day, and hear grunts and groans for everything! When she wanted something, I would wait til she pointed, then say, "oh, you want milk?" Say milk and do the sign. She caught on quickly, and it worked! And, I'm so glad it did or I would have lost my mind! Ha!

Tiffany - posted on 05/01/2011

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My daughter did the same thing. She started speech therapy at 26 months because she was only using a handful of words. It has helped so much! One thing the therapist did was to repeat the "eeee" to her when she did it and then she would stop. I also ask her to use words to tell me what she wants. After about 3 months of therapy, the "eee eee eee's" stopped.

Karrisa - posted on 04/27/2011

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The one thing adults don't understand is you should not talk in baby talk to your children. Talk to them as if you are speaking to another adult and they're speech will turn out just fine.

Karrisa - posted on 04/27/2011

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The one thing adults don't understand is you should not talk in baby talk to your children. Talk to them as if you are speaking to another adult and they're speech will turn out just fine.

Keely - posted on 04/26/2011

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Try Signing Time. It teaches sign language, which helps when they don't know how to say what they want to say, they can use a simple sign. It actually helps them to start talking as well. I used it with my 5 year old and I am using it with my almost 2 year old and I will use it again with my newborn.

Natalie - posted on 04/26/2011

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Echoing what everyone else has said.. Just repeat, repeat, repeat! My daughter went from not saying very much at all to becoming a little mockingbird around 14 months. It's amazing, just how of nowhere she just started repeating! Good luck!

Charlee - posted on 04/26/2011

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My 2yr old daughter wont pronounce her S or T sounds, so that is a challange, so i just tell her to use her words, and she has her own words for things life flip flops she calls them yabes, i think kids come in to there own at there own pace. and actually a friend of mine had to take her son to speach therapy because he would not talk at all and would only say A, and with in 6 months he spoke fabulously. it is hard to know what is right for your kid but it will happen.. :)

Irina - posted on 04/24/2011

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Yes, keep talking to him about everything you're doing and he's doing - no baby talk. But I wouldn't expect him to start talking all of a sudden. My daughter started to say a couple of word after she turned one and picked up more and more as the time went on, but my nephew is two-and-a-half and still uses his own sounds and words to communicate. No worries, your little one will start talking when he's ready : ) good luck

Dora - posted on 04/22/2011

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Kepp talking to him and when he wants something tell him what it is. When he is ready he will just start speaking. Communication is key. I didn't believe it myself until one day my son started talking in sentences at the age of 2yrs old and before that it was extremely simple words here and there. I don't recommend ever ignoring a child because that sends the wrong message to them as they are still learning.

Lee - posted on 04/20/2011

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My son is almost 2 and we talk all the time and he basically tells me everything he wants now. The way we did this was by pointing to everything and saying the name of it until he showed that he wanted it and as his language developed he would point to it himself and say what it was. That said he is a very good talker for his age but if he doesn't know what something is called he will point to it or touch it and say more. Maybe teach him a word like more and show him how to touch or point to what he wants and say more. Also I only ignore bad behaviour if he is trying to ask for something by EEEE I would show I'm interested in what he wants and go about trying to work out what it is with him words will come if you talk to him all the time.

Sandra - posted on 04/20/2011

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Yep...what they said. For a while you will have to use words for your son. Actually, you will do that a lot in teaching manners. Eventually, they will start to use their words, but you also have to set the example and insist on them saying it when you know they can.

Elfrieda - posted on 04/20/2011

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Teaching my son some signs has really cut down on the whining at the dinner table. He doesn't know many. More and All Done, basically. Today at supper I taught him Please, because he's 16 months now and it's time he learned some manners. He picked it up in two minutes, which is WAY faster than he learned the other signs, probably because he's older now and smarter.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 04/19/2011

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Yep, what she said. My 5 month old started the screaming thing and although its perfectly normal and a phase, I've also noticed him not immitating us so I've started talking to him more. A lot more. Do you want your baba? Hello, say HIi to mama....... blah blah... he's already 1 week later making more noises again. Yay for young ones catching on quickly :D Good luck... talk talk talking :)

[deleted account]

repitition repitition...
When my son would bring me his cup crying i would say "more please?" and wouldn't go get it right away. When I hand it back to him I say "drink thank you" etc. Eventually he learned that he could get wht he wanted faster that way. Dont get what he wants immediately instead calmly tell him the words to use 2 or 3 times first. When you do anything narrate what you are doing. My son is 20 months and wont shut up now lol. My twin nephews which are a year older than my son do the eeeee thing its horrible sounds a bit like the alarm for tornado. I would ignore him when he does the noise but praise him a lot if he makes any attemp at talking to you jibber jabber whatever tell him that big boys use their words and that he is acting like a big boy =)

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