Content is loading...

Hide this page Easy read and translate

Helping your toddler to talk

  • 0-1 Years
  • 1-5 Years
  • SEND
  • Child development and growing up
  • Speech, language and communication
smiling baby

Talking can be intimidating for babies and toddlers. It can take some toddlers a little longer to speak. Every child is different and may start speaking earlier or later than others. 


Copying is an important skill to learn as it involves working together. Games and activities that encourage copying are very helpful for babies. Do not force your baby to copy you.

You can help by:

  • pulling silly faces like sticking out your tongue and puffing out your cheeks
  • copying your baby’s babbling, you can take turns to babble like a conversation
  • playing games like peek-a-boo
  • encouraging them to wave bye-bye and shake their head for no
  • making different noises like animal sounds or making sounds with objects
child giggling with hand puppet

Using words to encourage your baby or toddler to talk

Talking can be intimidating for children. Do not put too much pressure on your child to talk all the time. Here are a couple of ideas to help them become more comfortable with talking.

Gone, all gone or bye-bye can be used in a variety of ways such as when:

  • a person leaves a room such as “daddy gone”, “daddy bye-bye”
  • tidying toys away such as “dolly gone” “bye-bye dolly”
  • your baby or toddler has finished their food or drink such as “juice gone” “juice all gone”

Repeating these words and phrases whenever you can will encourage your baby or toddler to use them.

When your toddler wants more of something like food or drink ask them in a clear voice “more?”. Repeat this as much as you can until your toddler understands what more means. You can try the following activities to encourage them:

During meal time, give your child a smaller portion of food or drink so they need to ask for more. When they ask, give them more food or drink.

When playing with puzzles or building blocks, pass your child one piece at a time. Only let them have more pieces when they ask for more.

Choose a game that your child really enjoys like being tickled or blowing bubbles. Every so often stop the activity and encourage your toddler to ask for more before continuing.

When your toddler is regularly asking for more, you can then move onto using 2 words at a time like “more drink” or “more swing”.

Helping your child form sentences

Once a child has learned enough words, they will start to say short sentences or phrases using 2 words. If your child only speaks to you with 1 word when they could have used 2, try to encourage them to say more words.

Dummies and pacifiers

Blue dummy on purple background

Dummies or pacifiers are excellent for helping babies settle down to sleep or sooth them. It can also help establish good sucking patterns up to 6 months old. However, dummies can affect speech. It can lessen the opportunities to ‘talk’ or babble and can potentially cause poor speech.

If you still want to use a dummy with your child, it is recommended that you only use dummies at night-time. Dummies won’t affect your child long-term as the speech issues tend to clear up as children grow older.

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023


Who can help

If you have concerns about your child’s language development you may want to discuss this with your health visitor if your child is under 5 years old.

They may have useful suggestions to help your child to talk.

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm (excluding bank holidays).

Was this page helpful?

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

You must log in to save content

Click below to log in or create a new account


You must log in to save content

Click below to log in or create a new account