Teaching Toddlers to Repeat Words and Learn New Words

Updated on October 05, 2009
V.V. asks from North Andover, MA
7 answers

My son used to repeat words when he was 9 months old and we thought he will start speaking soon as he used to repeat some complex words during that time. But around 10th month he got sick for few weeks in a row and could not play or talk for few months as he was tired most of the time. And we got busy with some other work at home and office so we did not focus too much on his talking skills in his early toddler period. He is now 20 months old but he still does not repeat many words even though he repeats and recognizes common things like Dog, Apple, Ball etc which he picked up long time ago.
Please let me know if you have any tips or tricks to get the toddler repeat words and learn new words.

Thanks for your help in advance

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answers from Wichita on

my son is 27 months, he had a good vocab when he was young to but he forgot words sometimes, almost like the new ones pushed out the old! i belive little boys are very sensitve to the world around them, and that maybe your sons confidence has been shaken by beeing poorly for a long time,(a few weeks must feel like a life time hwen your 2),and also your focus turning to something else. i would try reading to him lots, rhyming books are good because children can pick up on words better when they are in rhyhm and rhyme. set back quiet time just you and him with no interuptions and do it at the same time every day so he knows it's coming, it will bring some security back to him. he will be fine i'm sure, it won't be long before you can't keep him quiet, that's when the fun really starts. hope it works out for you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Is his hearing okay? Perhaps you might have it checked. They can do it at the pediatrician's office usually.

YOu could also work with baby sign language. It actually is very effective in developing language skills. Children are capable of picking up language long before they can physically verbalize the words. Either way, it's a good language building tool.

I also remember that my son started off seeming waaay ahead, then sort of paused, and then bam! All of a sudden one day, he started speaking in whole sentences, and repeating pages of books, etc.
So, keep working with him, and read, read, read. He'll probably surprise you one day with all that he has taken in.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Sing the new words! Add clapping or stomping feet to give rhythm to the words. My son had a bout with ear infections that was pretty serious from about 5 months to 15 months. As a result his hearing was effected during the most important time of speech development. At 18 months he only had 5 words without much change until after his 2year birthday and ANOTHER set of tubes. He just started repeating everything including some thing's i'd rather he didn't! I was in the car the other day and a guy cut me off. I said 'what tha...... my son filled in the hell part! Lovely! Oh well you take the good with the bad! I know with us that singing made a huge difference so go for it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I had a similar experience with my daughter and what I have to suggest may sound overblown but I have had a good outcome from it. When your child kind of regresses in language like that, it is a good/preventative step to have his ears checked and to have a developmental professional assess him. There are so many different elements that can cause a delay, and addressing them now rather than later will benefit your child exponentially.
There is a state funded service called the Regional Center, look up the one in your area. They will help guide you through the process and if your child qualifies, they will provide excellent services up to the age of three.
I personally went to children's hospital and had my daughters hearing and development assessed. It was a little scary for a while, as they came up with possibilities for her language to stop as it did. Ultimately, they discovered she has low muscle tone which might have affected the muscles of her mouth. She sees an excellent Speech therapist (Michele Mintz to any LA moms) who has also taught me how to elicit more language from her. (Some of her ideas: Sing repetitive songs with child but leave off last word of sentence and let child finish. Wait long enough looking directly into child's eyes. Do same with repetitive books. By the way, Michele Mintz: Tot to Talk, does an excellent class to teach parents how to facilitate language skills)
I definitly encountered a few naysayers who felt I was overreacting. My perspective was, if there in nothing wrong, then I would be able to tailor my parenting with that information, but if there was something wrong then attacking it as early as possible would give my daughter the tools to overcome it. In language, particularly, resolving problems in the first three years is so impt!!
I hope I haven't overwhelmed you. I just identified so clearly with your situation and my result has been so good, I hope for the same for you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi V., this is exactly like my daughter who is 19 months old. Our pediatrician suggested we join a playgroup where she can interact with other toddlers, like Mommy & Me. We are in Gymboree, but he said that is mostly parent/child interaction. She doesn't have to talk because we figure out what she means, but other toddlers won't bother so she will have to start talking. Both of her cousins (boys)are in daycare and have never stopped talking since 10 months old. One is 18 months, and the other is 22 months. When she is around them, she does say more words, and even phrases. So now I'm looking for a Mommy & Me class. Good luck to both of us!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My son ws diagnosed with a speech and articulation delay. Here are some suggestions from the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association:

Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development
Birth to 2 Years

Encourage your baby to make vowel-like and consonant-vowel sounds such as "ma," "da," and "ba."

Reinforce attempts by maintaining eye contact, responding with speech, and imitating vocalizations using different patterns and emphasis. For example, raise the pitch of your voice to indicate a question.

Imitate your baby's laughter and facial expressions.

Teach your baby to imitate your actions, including clapping you hands, throwing kisses, and playing finger games such as pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and the itsy-bitsy-spider.

Talk as you bathe, feed, and dress your baby. Talk about what you are doing, where you are going, what you will do when you arrive, and who and what you will see.

Identify colors.

Count items.

Use gestures such as waving goodbye to help convey meaning.

Introduce animal sounds to associate a sound with a specific meaning: "The doggie says woof-woof."

Acknowledge the attempt to communicate.

Expand on single words your baby uses: "Here is Mama. Mama loves you. Where is baby? Here is baby."

Read to your child. Sometimes "reading" is simply describing the pictures in a book without following the written words. Choose books that are sturdy and have large colorful pictures that are not too detailed. Ask your child, "What's this?" and encourage naming and pointing to familiar objects in the book.

2 to 4 Years

Use good speech that is clear and simple for your child to model.

Repeat what your child says indicating that you understand. Build and expand on what was said. "Want juice? I have juice. I have apple juice. Do you want apple juice?"

Use baby talk only if needed to convey the message and when accompanied by the adult word. "It is time for din-din. We will have dinner now."

Make a scrapbook of favorite or familiar things by cutting out pictures. Group them into categories, such as things to ride on, things to eat, things for dessert, fruits, things to play with. Create silly pictures by mixing and matching pictures. Glue a picture of a dog behind the wheel of a car. Talk about what is wrong with the picture and ways to "fix" it. Count items pictured in the book.

Help your child understand and ask questions. Play the yes-no game. Ask questions such as "Are you a boy?" "Are you Marty?" "Can a pig fly?" Encourage your child to make up questions and try to fool you.

Ask questions that require a choice. "Do you want an apple or an orange?" "Do you want to wear your red or blue shirt?"

Expand vocabulary. Name body parts, and identify what you do with them. "This is my nose. I can smell flowers, brownies, popcorn, and soap."

Sing simple songs and recite nursery rhymes to show the rhythm and pattern of speech.

Place familiar objects in a container. Have your child remove the object and tell you what it is called and how to use it. "This is my ball. I bounce it. I play with it."

Use photographs of familiar people and places, and retell what happened or make up a new story.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on


Talk to him constantly, read to him as much as he'll tolerate and label (name) absolutely everything for him throughout the day. If that doesn't work, make an appointment with Early Intervention. You can find your local one in the phone book or get the number from your pediatrician. It is a free service and you can self refer. After the initial evaluation, if he's eligible for services everything else will be done in your home.