How do you feel now? Tired? Hungry? Fed up? Imagine if you didn't know the word for your experience.
That’s what it can be like for a toddler: you might be tired, but you don’t know what ‘tired’ is. You can help your child get to know themselves by telling them what they’re feeling. If your child is sleepy, you could can say: ‘Oh you’re a bit tired tonight’. That way, your child can name that feeling and recognise it in future.
Adults aren't always in a good mood. Usually, they know why. Your child has changing feelings too but often doesn’t know why. You can help your child understand their moods. "Yes, you are happy because your friend is coming round" or "You are angry because Emma took your toy." This can help your toddler sort out problems and prevent tantrums.
Toddlers often take their time when talking to you. You may feel like jumping in or finishing their sentences for them. Just take a breath before you interrupt – you may find they haven’t really finished, and will start talking again.
It also helps them search for the right words to use.
Questions are the sparks that set conversations alight. Starting chat with words like “Who?’ ‘What?’ ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ and ‘When’ – and you’ve got a hot topic.
Special times together
Find times during the day and evening to let your child talk: you can go through what they’ve been doing that day or ask about a favourite story. You might even find that their perspective is very different or very funny.
More useful links
Information based on similar messages from Play Talk Read Scotland.