Tag Archives: toddlers

Identifying Speech Problems In Toddlers

Between the ages of 1 and 4, children’s speech takes off at a tremendous rate. Toddlers and preschoolers learn the vast majority of their vocabulary in this small window of time, and this is also when early intervention is the most helpful for kids with speech difficulties. Identifying speech problems before the school years is a very important skill parents should seek to develop.

First and foremost, if you have a concern about your little one’s speech, talk to your pediatrician. A medical professional is the best resource for learning about the help that is available.

Number of Words

One way to identify potential problems is to consider your child’s number of words. By your child’s first birthday, he should have said his first word. Do not be worried if there are few other words in his vocabulary, though. By age 2, two-word phrases should have entered the vocabulary. A child should be making short sentences by the age of 3, using at least three-words. Longer sentences should be present by age 4.


The sounds your child is able to make can also help you pinpoint problems. It is completely normal for a preschooler to be unable to make some sounds. By the age of 3, children should be able to say m, n, h, w, and p. They should add b, t, d, k, g, and f by age 4. The v, j, s, l, and r sounds appear by age 6, with more complex sounds like z, ch, sh, and th coming by age seven.

Recognizable Speech

Recognizable speech is also an indicator for you to look at. By age 2, strangers should be ale to understand about half of what your child says. This should increase to 75 percent by age 3, and 90 percent by age 4.

Other Warning Signs

There are some other warning signs you can watch for when identifying speech problems in toddlers and preschoolers. For instance, a child should be able to follow simple commands, like ‘bring me your doll’ by age 18 months. They should be talking, at least a few words, by age 21 months. By age 3, children should understand opposites, like big and little or up and down. If by age 5 the child’s communication is still difficult to understand to the point that you are communicating for her, then help is needed.

But the bottom line is that you are the mom, so go with your gut. If something seems off with your child, seek help. Early intervention is affordable and quite helpful, so take advantage of it if your child could stand to benefit.

Using A Toy Doll To Help Toddler Adjust To New Sibling

Bringing a new sibling into a home with a toddler carries unique problems. Not only does the problem of sibling rivalry have to be addressed, but finding a way to communicate the need for the toddler to be gentle around the new baby can also be tricky.

Many moms let the toddler learn how to interact with the infant by letting them practice with a baby doll of their own.

Helping mommy by taking care of the other baby makes the toddler feel special. It also shows them that even while mommy is busy feeding, changing or bathing the baby that she still has time for the older sibling by including the doll. Let the toddler choose whether they want to be a parent to the doll or the helpful older sibling. Let them pretend to mimic mom by taking care of their own pretend baby. Make the game more rewarding for the toddler by acknowledging when the toddler has finished a task and how happy the doll seems now.

Once the toddler has practiced the art of gently encouraging the doll baby to learn simple things the infant will learn anyway, like how to smile, they can move on to the task of teaching the real baby to smile with a gentle touch. Depending on the type of doll used, the toddler will enjoy having the little brother or sister learn to respond while the doll is a bit ‘slower’.

When it’s baby nap time, the toddler can tuck the doll in and take advantage of one on one mom time, knowing that the new baby is not taking away any of the love and attention the toddler has grown to expect.

Encouraging the toddler to try to sooth baby doll when your own baby is fretful will also give the toddler the idea that the new baby is not perfect. That will help the toddler feel more secure in the new position of older child.

A toddler is not going to want to play the ‘parenting game’ for the entire day, so be careful not to over encourage it. Take advantage of the learning lessons the doll can provide, but also let the doll sleep so that the toddler can pursue other activities.

Tips for Helping Your Toddler Adjust to a New Baby

A new baby brings significant changes to any family, but for your toddler, this is even more true. After all, up until the time your new baby arrives, your toddler is the baby of the family. While the adjustment is likely going to take some time, there are some things you can do to make it go easier.

Make sure your toddler knows what is about to happen, but do not make a huge deal out of it. Sometimes you can create anxiety and animosity by putting too much emphasis on the change that is about to occur. New sibling classes, books, and videos can be helpful tools, but only if they feel like a normal part of life, rather than a big, new thing.

The first time your toddler meets the baby, make sure he has had some mommy time. Remember, he has not seen mommy for a while, and this may be the first time he has been away from mommy. After he has seen mommy, introduce him to the new baby by name. Instead of calling her “baby” or “baby sister,” call her by her new name. This will help your toddler realize that she is not a toy, like the baby dolls at home, but a little, tiny person.

Do not expect your toddler to be excited about the baby. Whatever her reaction is, let it be. If your child is willing, let her touch the new baby gently, but do not force it. You can have a family cuddle time on the hospital bed. This will make the first encounter with baby a positive one, and the human contact will help your toddler start bonding with the new arrival.

When you bring your new baby home, your toddler’s routine is going to be greatly disrupted. If you can, have someone on hand who can help your little one stick to his normal schedule. While all of your friends and family members want to see the new baby, make sure there is someone with the toddler. You, as mommy, are not going to be able to fill this role, because you will be recovering from birth and nursing a newborn. Try to carve out some time each day to spend with your toddler, however. He is going to be missing his mommy quite quickly.

Let your toddler talk about what is happening. If he is frustrated, let him tell you about it. Expect him to show some babyish behaviors, such as extra crying and neediness. This is temporary, but respond to it as well as you can. Give your toddler some mommy and daddy time, and soon you will have a well-adjusted big brother or sister who enjoys the new role of older sibling.