Home > Babies and Toddlers > Toddlers > Toddler Growth and Development > Language Development > Talking About Me: Listening and Talking
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Talking About Me: Listening and Talking

Toddlers are beginning to enjoy make-believe play.

Have plenty of telephones (toys and real ones) on hand. Look for push-button and portable phones like the ones your child sees at home. Help her talk on the phone to a friend or family member.

Provide dress-up clothes and props -- hats, scarves, shoes, keys, tote bags, and pocketbooks. Most toddlers like to dress up, pack a bag, and pretend to leave and come back. They play house with pots, pans, dishes, and other household items.

Join your child in his make-believe play to introduce new words and to encourage him to talk: "That smells delicious. What are you cooking?" "Are you going to work? Say 'hello' to your Dad for me."

Toddlers are learning to play with each other.

Invite your child and her friends to do something together. You can sing a song, do a fingerplay, talk to puppets, or play a silly word game about opposites ("Do plates go on the table or under the table?" "Are elephants big or little?").

Move on to another activity when your child and his friends lose interest. As his attention span grows, slowly increase the time for activities with friends.

Toddlers ask a lot of questions.

Answer your child's questions. Try a simple answer first. If that's not enough, try again. She may ask more questions because she doesn't understand the answer or because she likes asking questions. Does this sound familiar?

"Where's my banana?" "You ate your banana." "Where did it go?" "It's in your tummy." "Why?" "Because you chewed and swallowed it."

Be patient. Toddlers ask many, many questions because they are trying to learn as much as they can about the world. They come to you because they know you can help them learn.

Toddlers like talking to people who will listen to their stories.

Let your child know that she has interesting things to say. Comment on what she's doing, ask a question that encourages her to talk, or join in the play and talk about what you are doing together.

Talk during activities -- when eating, washing hands, and picking up toys.

Listen to your child for as long as it takes him to tell a story. Ask questions to help him explain what happened.

Source: America Reads Challenge: Ready*Set*Read for Families, America Reads

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