19 - 21 Months

Boost your toddler’s language skills by getting face-to-face

When your toddler hears a new word, they automatically look for clues to figure out its meaning. One of the best sources of information they have is your face.

Seeing your mouth move when you talk helps your toddler map those movements to sounds. They can then try to make the same sounds and words with their own mouth. 

Being face-to-face also makes it easier for your toddler to follow your gaze. This helps them connect what you say to what you both see. These moments of shared attention help your toddler learn the meaning of new words.

Face-to-face time can be harder to pull off as your adventurous and curious toddler gains speed 🙃 You have to be more intentional now, but the effort is worth it.  

3 simple ways to have more face-to-face time with your toddler

1. Get on the same level

Kneel, squat, or lift your toddler up to your eye level whenever you can, so they tune into your face. Even brief eye-to-eye moments can add up, building vocabulary as well as your emotional connection. 

2. Adjust your reading position

Try facing your toddler when you read to them. They can look from you to the book and more easily pair what you are saying with what’s on the page.  

3. Sit across from them

Whether your toddler is eating lunch or doing a puzzle, take a seat and have a conversation. You can talk about the foods on their plate and ask about their experience: “How does that yogurt feel on your hand? It looks squishy!” Give them plenty of time to respond and tune into what they’re curious about. 

Learn more about the research

Brooks, R., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2008). Infant gaze following and pointing predict accelerated vocabulary growth through two years of age: A longitudinal, growth curve modeling study. Journal of Child Language, 35(1), 207-220.

de Boisferon, A. H., Tift, A. H., Minar, N. J., & Lewkowicz, D. J. (2018). The redeployment of attention to the mouth of a talking face during the second year of life. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 172, 189-200


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Posted in: 19 - 21 Months, 22 - 24 Months, Language, Communication, Speech Development, Lovevery App, Parenting, Child Development

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