When is a word… a word?

I would say, when it is intentional!

When your toddler is sending a message to you, despite how it sounds or is shared.

Often parents say to me that their toddler is not talking at all.

When we look closely, we often find they are communicating more than it might seem.

In the early stages of talking, often the words may not sound at all like the target word.

If your little one, uses a sign, gesture, or sound consistently to mean something then I would call this a word.

Intentional communication is happening when your toddler is deliberately telling you something.

It is really wonderful to see toddlers sharing things they love with their parents (like the dog, doll, ball) and not just what they need (drink, banana).

Learning how our toddlers are communicating is one of the first steps in understanding how we can help them become better communicators.  

When we know that every time they say ‘mmm’ they, mean ‘milk’ then we can give them the word.

So, they say ‘mmmm’ and

we can respond …… ‘milk, milk, you want milk’.

Some of the ways words were said in the early years still remain in our family.

As they were so cute, we never wanted to change it.

Our eldest son always said ‘anothergen’ when he wanted us to do something again. This changed on it’s own accord, we were sad to see it go.

Our eldest daughter, always loved ‘craggle’ {pork crackle from a roast}. This one has stayed with us. Our whole family loves ‘craggle’.

I encourage you if you think your little one is not talking yet.

Pay attention to how they get their message across.

Is there are sign / gesture / sound they use every time they want or need something?

If there is then give them this as a first word.

If you want to learn strategies to support your toddlers talking, then head to my Toddler Talk Kit.

If you are keen to know more about typical communication development from birth to four, then head here.

If you want to know about the One Big Game Changer that my clients talk about then head here.

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