Communicating effectively with toddlers can be a challenge. If you don’t know what to say or how to say it, they may become frustrated, and this could cause problems during your conversations. The following tips will help you communicate better with toddlers:
Toddlers are developing their language skills, so give them time to process information after they ask a question. If they don’t understand, take the time to explain again in simple terms.
Use Different Word Choices
Toddlers might not understand complicated words, so use short and clear sentences with common words. It may be easier for them to process information if it’s broken down into smaller parts. For example, instead of asking, “Would you like a drink?” try, “Do you want water or juice?”
Choose Your Words Carefully
Some words may confuse toddlers. For example, they might not understand the difference between “still” and “quiet.” Instead of saying, “Be still,” say, “Don’t move,” and instead of saying, “Quiet,” try, “Don’t talk.”
Use Simple Sentences
Toddlers might not be able to understand complete sentences at this age. Break down the information into shorter sentences. For example, instead of saying, “Please pick up your toys and put them away,” say something like, “Put your train in the box” or “Pick up the doll and put it in the toy box.”
Toddlers will usually understand information they hear more than once. Repeat yourself as often as necessary to make sure they comprehend what you’re saying.
Give One Instruction at a Time
One instruction is easier for toddlers to process than several instructions at one time. For example, before you ask them to clear their plate from the table, make sure they have a napkin in their lap and are sitting at the table.
Make It Fun
Toddlers like to have fun. Play games with your toddler that will help them learn language skills such as taking turns and following directions. For instance, play “Simon Says” or “Red Light, Green Light.”
When in Doubt, Ask
If you’re ever not sure whether your child understands what you are saying, ask them. You may be surprised at how well they comprehend the information. For instance, try something like, “Do you know what I mean?” or “What do you think about that?”
As with any relationship, patience and understanding are key to having positive interactions with your toddler. Remember that toddlers usually understand more than we think they do and want to please us. With a little patience, you can have many successful conversations with your toddler.