24 Months 3 Weeks – Concept of Recurrence

Roman wanting more chips At this point your child may have graduated from using just “more” to get more of an item.  You are going to see more novel word combinations such as “I want that too” or “I want another one”.  The best way to encourage these phrases is by verbally modeling them yourself and creating opportunities for your children to use them.  

To create these opportunities, only give your children a little bit of each item.  For instance, if their eating Cheerios just give them 5 since they are obviously going to want more.  You can then show it to them in your hand to motivate a phrase that requires recurrence (or a fancy word for more!).  

There are many times throughout the day you can do this such as mealtime, snack time, play time (e.g. – withholding blocks), story time (e.g. – do not turn the page and have them ask for  more of the book), bath time, etc.  We love finding fun, new ways to extend phrases!

24 Months – Narrating One’s Own Actions During Play

Roman lining up his toys in pretend play Your child has come to a point where they can play independently and it is time for them to join their play with words. At first, they may be labeling objects they’re picking up or see. Let’s say they’re in their play kitchen and they say “banana”. You can expand on it by creating a phrase “Let’s PEEL the banana”. Emphasize novel words and unique parts of a phrase to allow it to stand out to your child.  

It’s all about input they are receiving. The more verbal modeling that you provide during play, everyday errands, etc. the more likely they are to start narrating their own actions. Feel free to initiate structured play with them.  For instance, grab a tea set and start setting it up by saying phrases such as “Here’s a plate”. Then, take the teapot and say “Pouring tea”, pretend to drink it and say “Drinking tea” or “Wow!  It’s hot!”, etc.  

Another alternative is to chime in when they have already initiated play with an item on their own. “Oh the car is going up up up the garage!”, “The car needs gas!”, “We’re driving fast!”, etc.  They do not have to repeat everything you are saying, but you are giving their actions words and meaning. You are also adding new vocabulary to their repertoire.  For example, they may already know “car”, but “gas” might be a new word. To give it extra meaning, talk about getting gas when you’re actually at the gas station.  Real life situations will encourage them to make more connections and make them more apt to using new words and longer phrases when on their own.  

23 Months 3 Weeks – Playing Doctor & How to Encourage Language

Roman loves flowers By this time your toddler is really getting a handle of basic body parts such as eyes, nose, mouth, legs, etc.  It’s a perfect time to build on that during play.  For instance, you can use it while playing a game of tickling, modified Simon Says, or our favorite pretend play with a doctor kit.

A medical kit contains a ton of items such as a bandaid, stethoscope, needle, thermometer, etc. and it gives your child a chance to act out a familiar routine.  If your child is labeling individual body parts, you can use the pretend play to expand to 2-3 word phrases.  If you’re focused on your nose you can say “Uh Oh!  Nose (is) broken!” or “Oh no!  (My) nose hurts!  Many children find it funny when “something goes wrong”, so the language will stand out to them!

Later on, you can expand work on more advanced body parts such as “elbow” and requesting specific items such as “shot”.  It’s also a way to work on initiating questions such as “Are you okay?”, “What hurts?”, “What happened?”, etc.  You can even work on commenting using temperature such as “You feel hot”.  It even works on the skills of empathy and how others could be feeling.  All in all, it’s a great way to expand their imagination and may even make them less scared of going to the real doctor!  

23 Months 2 Weeks – Never Too Early to Work on the /s/ Sound

Do you hear your toddler producing /s/ with their tongue out? It’s never too early to model the correct production and try to correct it.  Lisps are often very difficult to correct as a child gets older, so our motto is the earlier the better!

This part is too complicated for toddlers, but just so you know as an adult we produce the /s/ sound by putting our tongue tip on the alveolar ridge (bumpy ridge right behind our top teeth).  You can show a toddler this by having them look at you or looking at a mirror while you overemphasize the sound to try to show them where their tongue goes.  Sometimes we even like to use a tongue depressor or our finger to show them where our bumpy ridge is – for older children we even put a little bit of peanut butter on the spot so they know where their tongue is supposed to touch.  

TAG As for the manner in which the sound is produced it is called a fricative, which means it is a “hissing” type sound and air escapes through the teeth causing friction.  One thing you can do which works with my toddler is bringing your teeth together or telling them to bite down while producing /s/.  This may sound a bit exaggerated, but it makes sure their tongue does not come out.

Many other articulation errors are age-appropriate and can be categorized into phonological processes or patterns, but it is definitely important to keep an eye out and always model correct production.  These issues sometimes grow into articulation disorders (which later may manifest themselves into problems with reading and writing) and you want your child to be understood by all listeners and to be able to form friendships easily.  

TAGWe have two resources if you need further help. Our interactive iBooks: Vowels & Diphthongs and our Consonants iBook.

23 Months 1 Week -How to Deal with Terrible Twos in Speech Therapy Fashion

Roman jumping up and down Oh boy!!  Have you entered the Terrible Twos yet?  We have here!  Yes it might be early, but we are in the depths of it.  Crying, screaming, hitting, laying yourself on the ground – you name it.  It’s actually a very natural phase.  Although we see it as negative behavior, it is really more a phase for your toddler to use their voice, gauge their power, and see what they can get away with.  

We like to think of the first step in speech and language fashion.  Let’s say you see your child gradually becoming upset and you want to try to prevent it from escalating.  You can start off by saying “I know you’re feeling sad Johnny took the toy from you.  Why don’t we go over there and try to ask for it back?  And then once you play with it for 5 minutes we can give him a turn”.  

If you see the behavior getting out of control what we often like to do is to take him away from the situation to get the attention off.  At this point we feel that ignoring works best (making sure they are not hurting themselves of course).  

Once they calm down (it make take 5-10 or more minutes!), we always find that praising them for good behavior such as keeping their body calm, calming down, keeping their hands down, standing up, etc. is the way to go.  Keep it simple while using positive language such as “Good keeping your feet down!”.  This way you are reinforcing positive behavior and not negative behavior.  Different techniques of course work for different children, but in our case we’ve seen the explanation of feelings in the beginning greatly diminish negative behavior.  We wish you all the luck in the world!  😉

23 Months – Using Phrases to Give Compliments

Roman and Mom  Your toddler is becoming very aware of his surroundings and people around him.  You can use it as a chance to really connect with people and things by giving compliments.  For instance, Roman has started complimenting our hair saying “hair nice”.  

You can target things such as artwork and verbally model phrases such as “pretty picture”.  If a girl is wearing a pretty dress you can model “cute dress”.  If a friend is playing with a fun new toy you can say “cool new truck”.  This now only will make others feel happy, but will also make your toddler start thinking about the power of their words.  

And it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone or something that someone has made or has.  It could be things that you see in nature.  Let’s say you’re taking a walk you can talk about a tree by saying “Wow that’s a beautiful tall tree!”.  There are tons of possibilities, so go ahead and make someone’s day!

22 Months 3 Weeks – What to Expect During Mealtime with a 2 Year Old

Roman and berries Can you believe it?  You’re child is almost two!  We decided to concentrate on mealtime milestones this week since a lot more is expected of your child at this point.  In terms of texture, they should now be able to eat all textures including: purees, soft chewables, ground lump purees, and more chewable foods. Tougher solids are expected after 24 months.  

As for oral-motor skills, your child should now exhibit rotary chewing instead of diagonal chewing.  Lateral tongue action should be visible.  They should have also mastered straw drinking.  Overall, you should observe a decrease in food intake by 24 months.

When it comes to motor skills, their pincer grasp should be refined and they should be past finger feeding.  You now want them to grasp the spoon with their whole hand and independently feed themselves by scooping food and brining it to their mouth.  All in all, you should see increased control of utensils.  As you can see, mealtime and fine motor skills are highly intertwined.

And of course to limit pickiness, have your child eat meals with the whole family and most importantly have them eat what you’re eating.  If they are hesitant, have them explore the food with their senses (e.g. – touching it with their fingers).  The more they are exposed to different foods the better!  So if salmon and cabbage salad is on the menu, it’s also what’s for dinner for your child!  

22 Months 2 Weeks – Teaching Basic Conversation to a Toddler

Roman and Numbers You are probably at the point where you might be in an elevator and a stranger asks your child “What’s your name?”. Your child may not answer right now, but it’s a great time to practice holding a basic conversation.

You can start off with a basic greeting of “Hi” and waving. You can then move onto answering, “What’s your name?” and if they do not answer, model their name. You can practice it in front of a mirror and point to them so they understand what a “name” means. We also found that holding up a picture of just his face helps.  

The next step is to go over their age, which may still be a difficult concept. Since they are almost two you can begin asking “How old are you?” and modeling “two”. Holding up the number may be helpful, so they can relate it to a visual.  Counting up to two and emphasizing two may also help. Many times when people ask “how” questions to a toddler the child automatically thinks “how many” and begins counting, so when you model the answer “two” make sure to say it right away. Other than that you can also go over basic question and answer pairs such as “How are you?” and “Good”.  

22 Months 1 Week – Combining Chores with Following Directions

Roman dancing. It’s never too early to start learning about chores and how to help out in the house!Now that your child is getting better at following directions feel free to intertwine basic “chores” into the daily routine.  

It could be as simple as cleaning up. From an early age we started the clean up song even when he did not speak just so he got used to the melody and words. At this point you can sing it along with them and see if they hum along or imitate any of the words. Just hearing the song will trigger cleaning up after playtime or even mealtime.  Once they get used to the routine they will begin cleaning up on their own, sometimes even singing the song all by themselves!

Specific directions you can give is “Give me your cup/plate/fork and let’s put it in the sink” (they most likely cannot reach yet even with a step stool, but it’s good to practice), “Put your ____ in the dishwasher”, “Throw it in the garbage”, “Go get me a paper towel”, “Put your socks away” (or any clothing), “Walk the dog”, etc.  We even found working on colors while doing laundry is an excellent receptive language task (e.g. – dark vs. light or putting all the red socks together).

22 Months – Encouraging “I feel…” Sentences

Roman is happy. The world is an exciting place and it comes with lots of feelings for little ones (and adults), so we have to make sure we give them a voice to talk about how they feel.  For instance, my son is starting to get the concept of “scary” if it’s a ghost, lion, etc. and he will comment saying phrases such as “ghost scary”.

TAG We recommend starting off with basic feelings such as happy vs. sad.  You can practice smiling and frowning in front of the mirror and labeling the feelings with one word.  We also started by looking at pictures of babies in Mrs. Mustard’s Baby Feelings book and our Baby Feeling ibook since they are clear depictions of happy vs. sad.  We also talked about feelings while watching videos or television shows to make screen time an interactive experience.

You can also talk about feelings as they happen since this is the prime age for tantrums!  For instance, if someone took their toy away you can label the feeling with a sentence such as “I know that makes you feel SAD”.  As they get the hang of it, you can add more complicated feelings in such as excited, scary, surprised, etc.  They love imitating your facial expressions and even pretending!  For instance, you can do role-play with dinosaurs and pretend to hide under a blanket or pillows to pretend to be very scared!  Targeting feelings through story time and art are also fantastic ways to go over feelings and using that starter phrase “I feel ____”, “She feels ____”, “He feels ____”, “They feel ____”, etc.  Have a HAPPY day! ☺