Your toddler’s speech development
One of the best things about my job as a pediatric speech therapist is sharing all of the amazing things that are happening “under the surface” with their little one’s speech and language development!
It allows you to be majorly wowed by all that your little on is accomplishing on their journey to first words (and beyond)
It allows you to see where they are on that journey so that you can meet them where they are
It allows you to see progress you may have otherwise missed because you weren’t recognizing all the things that are happening on the journey to talking (“mini milestones”)
What are speech “mini milestones?”
Speech mini milestones are the exciting things that happen on the way to using words. But here’s the thing- these are also necessary for words because they build the strong foundation for talking. Don’t forget to celebrate the mini milestones along the way!
Here are 5 “mini milestones” your child needs to master before they start talking:
1. Using Gestures: Gestures develop before words. Not only are gestures like clapping and waving adorable, but they serve a purpose. Gestures set the stage for spoken words. (Read my full blog on how gestures support speech here)
2. Making sounds: Sounds are building blocks for words. The first words little ones make are made from the same sounds they babbled with. The more sounds your child makes, the more building blocks they have for words.
3. Understanding words: Children need to understand what words mean before they can use them. Using strategies such as slowing down can help make it easier for your child to learn (and say) new words.
4. Copying: Babies as young as 9 hours old have been documented imitating adults sticking out their tongues. That’s because communication is all about connection! Your little one needs to consistently copy actions and sounds before they copy words.
5. Play skills. Play and language mirror each other. We start to see early pretend play like feeding a doll develop around the same time little ones start using words. That’s because they are starting to understand that words represent things in the world around them, just like we can we can pretend something represents something else (like food that’s not really there).
When you know how to recognize “mini milestones,” you can better understand where your child is on their journey and meet them exactly where they are right now!
If you want to learn step-by-step how to support your little one’s mini milestones at home to help them say more, check out my Big Little Talkers Course here!