A child acquires language by imitating what he hears from the people around him. He communicates long before his first word; he responds to your voice and facial expressions, and vocalizes emotions with sounds. He understands words before he uses them, and when they first come out, they bear scant resemblance to actual speech.
Most of us know someone whose name was mangled by a younger or older sibling and the moniker stuck. Patricia is known as Pisha, Julia becomes Jujie, Eggie for Meghan, and so on. But "baby talk" isn't something you want your child to take with him into school. If he's still saying "movfee feeder" on his first date, you've been doing something wrong.
As his language develops, your little one has adorable words and phrases that make you laugh. It's so endearing to hear them say "dookie", "otay", or other words you'll never see on a Scrabble board. We want to hang on to those precious times of toddler hood because we know it's short lived.
So, is repeating your toddler’s cute speech mistakes bad for his development? The good new is, probably not. As long as you don't use it exclusively. It's not going to do permanent damage.
Asking, "do you want to read a boos" before bedtime will not prevent him from learning to say book. They know what book is, it just comes out wrong. “They know the difference—they hear the difference. They don't have the motor control or coordination to quite do it themselves yet.”
Language skills and vocabulary expand almost daily at that age. Some of the words a toddler says become part of the family lexicon for a short time. Everyone might be having "panatakes" or sighting "hellocopelors" for a while. But it won't last. The little guy will correct you one day and those words become cherished memories of childhood.
No one knows your child better than you do. You parent radar will alert you to potential problems. If you're concerned about the progress your child is making in talking, ask your pediatrician. He or she will may reassure you that everything is on track or send you for an evaluation. Speech therapy is effective. Most school districts have speech pathologists on staff to provide these services.
Talk to your child clearly, and read to him often. The more he hears the better it is for him to learn. He may garble his words at first, but after all, he is practicing. In the meantime, love them while they're little; they won't stay little long.
Finding or filling a position in Speech Pathology or Allied Health is easier with expert help. Contact us to explore the possibilities.
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