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Tempted to Talk

Bite-sized brain snacks for Chicago’s early learners.

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Set up a “friendly sabotage” by creating a situation where your child is tempted to ask for help! For example, place a favorite toy into a sealed container or bag. Encourage the child to use language to ask for help and provide the words to say. "Help, please!"

Why It's Important

Your child's oral language development refers to the growing number of words your child can use to communicate. At this point, your child understands far more words than can be spoken. Your child has to learn how to make and combine the sounds needed to pronounce words in order to start speaking them clearly. This can only be accomplished through practice. Encourage your child to talk, modeling the words first if needed.

Journal/Talk:

It is very exciting when your child is finally beginning to express some needs, thoughts, and ideas using words. Show your child how proud you are! Respond with enthusiasm when your child says a word or phrase for the first time. Have your child repeat it on camera. Send the video to friends and family so they can get excited about it, too.

Not Ready Yet

Have your child repeat words and phrases like "help" and "help please" even when you know that help is needed. With practice, your child will begin using these words without being prompted.

Need a Challenge

Ask your child questions to keep the conversation going. You might ask, "What do you need help with?" or "What do you need me to do?" You can even ask questions about the object inside the bag. What is it? What will your child do with it?

Book Recommendations:

"May I Please Have a Cookie?" by Jennifer E. Morris

Extend the learning:

Look for opportunities throughout the day to encourage your child to talk. Teach your child to communicate with words rather than gestures, grunting, crying, and pointing. Model the words for your child and have your child repeat them back when necessary.