Let's face it, trying to have a real talk with a 2-year-old can sometimes be a challenge (albeit a humorous one). If you're looking for some ideas for conversations with your 2-year-old in an effort to strengthen their language development, you've come to the right place. Before you know it, the nonstop chatter phase will hit (hard), and you'll never be at a loss for words again (you'll be too busy answering questions about urgent matters like why stoplights are red).
By the time their second birthday rolls around, "most toddlers will say 50 words or more, use phrases, and be able to put together two- to three-word sentences," according to Kids Health. It's amazing what little sponges they are, right? Remember that your toddler is listening to everything you say and storing that information away. So when you speak with your 2-year-old, "instead of using 'baby' words, use the correct names for people, places, and things," Kids Health advised.
"Speak slowly and clearly, and keep it simple."
It's also important to remember that words aren't the only way to communicate with toddlers, according to the Child Mind Institute. Notice how your toddler will give messages by pointing, making eye contact and using body language. By encouraging and positively reinforcing this communication style, you'll be preparing for the speech production and language that will come later. You'll also be learning more about your toddler's developing personality through these regular chats, which are also more or less guaranteed to be absolutely hilarious and charming and adorable more often than not.
So, by watching your child as he physically communicates, by listening to his little phrases, you're on the path to helping your child as language develops. Stuck for ideas when it comes to topics of discussion? Don't feel limited to the obvious hot button issues for tots (Peppa Pig, ice cream). Try these easy conversation starters and see where they take you.
Start close to home with questions about your family. You may be surprised at a few of these answers!
- Who are the people you live with?
- What is your favorite thing to do as a family?
- Do you know the name of the town where you live with your family?
- Is there anything you would like to change about our family? (you may want to have video on this one; who knows what your little one will say!)
- What is one thing you would like to do this weekend as a family?
- How old are mama and daddy?
Play time is the best time for toddlers. Ask them what they think about the following topics:
- What is your favorite thing to do?
- What is your favorite toy to play with?
- What is your favorite song to sing?
- What is your favorite book that mama or daddy reads to you?
- Who is your friend? What is their name?
Animals are one of the very first things that children learn about in books and see, either in their own home or out in the world. I love this line of questioning for toddlers:
- What is your favorite animal?
- If you could be an animal for a day, what would you be? Why?
- If you could choose any animal as a pet, what would you have?
A great conversation to have at dinnertime, obviously. See how your toddler responds to these questions:
- What is your favorite food?
- What foods are crunchy/spicy/sweet?
- What kind of food do you like to eat when we go to a restaurant?
- Would you like to help me make dinner sometime?
- If you could pick out dinner, what would we have?
We all know toddlers have lots of emotions. See how far you can get with these conversation starter ideas:
- What is the best thing that happened today? The worst thing that happened?
- What is the nicest thing you did today? Did someone do something nice for you?
- What was your favorite part about today?
- What was the funniest thing that happened today?
- Are you afraid of anything? Why are you afraid?
- How many hugs and kisses do you need each day? (You know what you to do after this one!)