My Toddler Isn't Talking!
Well, I haven’t panicked over this topic. I have understood from all of my experiences with children through the years that children will talk when they want to. Especially at a very young age like 1-3 years old, they haven’t learned or understood the concept of rudeness, so if they don’t want to talk, THEY WON’T. You can try until you are blue in the face to get them to say a few words, and if they don’t want to, they won’t.
I’ve seen where parents have freaked out because their 2 year old isn’t saying much and go scrambling to find a speech therapist…for a 2 YEAR OLD??? I can see if there truly seems to be some issues going on, like other behaviors that would point to a speech or language problem. But simply not talking doesn’t seem serious enough to me.
Many kids are just quiet or shy or simply don’t want to talk. I think I relate the most to this because as a child, people could do backflips or juggle 10 pieces of fruit in front of me and I still would not say a word! It wasn’t that I couldn’t talk. I could. Perfectly. I just didn’t want to. I had to warm up to you before I would talk. It was so bad that in Kindergarten, my teacher called the roll and got to my name. I didn’t say here. I just looked at her. I figured if she saw me, she knew I was here, so I didn’t have to say anything. Instead, she made eye contact with me and continued to call my name until I finally said “here”. (Meanie! LOL)
Honestly, as an adult, I still choose to talk or not. If someone asks me a question that I don’t want to answer, I simply don’t say anything. If there is someone around that I don’t trust, I simply don’t say anything. I have co-workers that barely know what my voice sounds like! It’s not that I can’t talk or even scared to talk. I just don’t want to.
I am so good a talker that when I got over the shyness in Kindergarten and actually learned how fun socializing was, by 1st grade my desk was out in the hallway! And I still talked to friends in the hallway!!! (LOL) It was so bad that I couldn’t shut up until I reached high school where the teachers started to threaten afterschool detention! Now, I’m no big fan of getting in trouble, especially big trouble like a write up and detention! So what happened? I shut my mouth!!!
And I’ve been pretty much to myself since. I just try to be mindful of others since I know I can actually talk a lot. I don’t want to run people off or say something embarrassing by running my mouth too much. I also don’t want to be bothered sometimes. It’s hard for me to send people away when they are in a talking flow when I really want to get some work done, or finish enjoying a book, or just go relax. So, I don’t want to be that person holding people up because I’m running my mouth…unless it’s my husband. I’ll chase him around the house if I have to! (LOL I love you Angelo!)
But kids have a way of doing what they want when they want to. Not that they don’t know how or that they want to be rude or disrespectful. My son knows lots of words and while at the age of two, he is picking up and learning new words every single day. The thing is, he doesn’t always say them! I could be that parent, too and freak out because he may not talk that much, especially around others.
But here’s what you should do to make sure your child’s language skills are developing correctly. It’s ok to be concerned! You are a parent! You want your child to be okay! I’m simply telling you that you may not have to be so concerned about this issue. From a certified educator and fellow mom, here’s what you should do…
1. Don’t compare!
Don’t compare your child to other children. This is the WORST thing to do. Your child is an individual and so are other children. You can’t assess your child’s progress based on another child. They grow, develop, and learn differently. There is a child that I know that is just 3 weeks older than my son AJ and she can say complete sentences. I could easily compare and freak out because AJ doesn’t use complete sentences like that. But I don’t because I consider the fact that they are two different children, two different sets of parents, AJ has two working parents while this other child has two parents working at home. The other child is a girl and AJ is a boy (this makes a difference). Also, this other child may be able to say complete sentences, but AJ was/is doing more physical things before she does. So her parents could look at AJ and say “Oh my, he’s a few weeks younger than our daughter and he’s already doing jumping jacks and our daughter is not! Is she alright physically???” The answer is YES! Stop comparing!
2. Use Tinybeans
If you want a guideline for what your child should be able to do by certain ages, check out Tinybeans. It’s an app that lets you record your child’s milestones and upload pictures. You can track your child’s progress and watch how much they grow with the calendar that automatically fills with your pictures. You can check the milestones and see what milestones should be achieved by certain age RANGES and see what milestones are coming up so you can start working on those skills with your child. The milestones includes skills and abilities in the cognitive, motor/gross skills, social, and reading categories! You can also record their firsts, like first tooth, first party, etc. You can also keep track of their weight and height and share with others! I love this app and so glad I came across it! Oh yeah! The app also has articles for you to read about your child’s development and care! I love it!!!
3. Find out what they know…
If you are concerned about your child’s language development, trying seeing what they understand before you jump to hiring a therapist. For example, young kids may say the word “outside” but you say “want to go outside?” and they walk to the door, that should let you know they understand. They understand the language and communicating because by walking to the door, they are letting you know that they do want to go outside…so what are you waiting for?! (LOL) Also, they may point or walk to and stand by something they want. Their understanding is working great! If you want them to go beyond this and actually talk more, try the next idea.
4. Learn to Listen
For many parents that deal with this concern, it’s more of the fact of wondering if the child actually knows HOW to say words because it’s hard to tell because they don’t talk. You can simply make your own flash cards of words that you know your child understands (cup, bed, snack, mama, daddy, hi, bye, etc.) Include pictures on the flash cards. Review these words every day, even if your child doesn’t repeat them. Say these same words with emphasis throughout the day, “Do you want your CUP? (hold up cup) CUP?” Do this continuously (and read LOTS of books!!!) and over time, start to LISTEN to your child while they play on their own. Sometimes children don’t speak just because they are being commanded to and they simply don’t want to do something that’s not at their own choosing. So, listen while they play. You want them to talk, so then you listen! Listen to sounds they make. Listen to words they do say. Listen to how they pretend to have a conversation. And let me say this, just because your child may be talking gibberish doesn’t mean they can’t speak! Talking gibberish means they are ON THE RIGHT TRACK!!! It is part of language development to speak gibberish! So, if they pick up a toy and pretend it is a phone and start gibbering, their language skills are on point!!! When you see this, take it as a teachable moment and pick up a block, play phone, real phone and say, “Hello? How are you?” and hand it over to your child to let them know it’s their turn to speak on the “phone”. Even if they don’t say anything at first, keep it going and make this normal play. When they decide to actually speak (English), you will be amazed at how much they really know!!!
Don’t worry! I’m sure your child is doing fine! Be patient and don’t stress!!! All children develop differently, even siblings in the same household, so just be that great parent you are and continue to be your child’s first teacher! They will speak up before you know it!
Thanks for reading!!!
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About The Author
Amy McCutcheon is a loving wife to Angelo McCutcheon and mom to two boys, AJ and Amauri McCutcheon. She is the creator of A Supermom’s Journey, a blog about motherhood and all that it entails. You can read more about the journey at www.supermomsjourney.com. Amy is also an educator and teaches middle school ELA and reading. She also teaches English online to ESL students in China. Amy is also the creator of the YouTube channel A Supermoms Journey and runs a tutoring service called AR Learning where she tutors students ages 4-18 in all core subjects and helps adults with obtaining their GED, college entrance essays, resume writing, and document proofreading. You can book an appointment at www.arlearning.wix.com/home. Amy is in ministry with her husband. They run EBT Ministries which is an outreach ministry to help believers truly understand Yah’s (God) word and the truth about being a child of Yah. You can learn more about the ministry at www.ebtminitries.org. Amy is the creator of the blog GMEL (God, Marriage, Education, Life) where she writes about what Yah’s word says about life for a woman. To continue to read, go to www.gmel2000.blogspot.com.
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