Magazine article Work & Family Life

Should I Correct My Toddler's Language Errors?

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Should I Correct My Toddler's Language Errors?

Article excerpt

Q My 18 month old is starting to put words together, and I'm wondering if I should correct him when he mispronounces a word or says things the wrong way. If so, when and how?

-J.F., Akron, OH

A It's exciting when young kids begin to express themselves with words. At this age, just try to correct garbled words and sentences in a gentle, indirect way.

For example, if your toddler says "me go zoo," you could say, "Yes, you and I are going to the zoo and we're going to see elephants." If he points to a pear and says "apple," just say, "Oh, you want to eat a pear."

Here are some other ways to support a young child's language development:

Respond to his intended meaning rather than the words he uses. For example, if he says, "I want to carry you," you would reply, "You want me to carry you." By correctly stating what your child is trying to say, you're letting him know that you understand him and, at the same time, are reinforcing the proper word order.

Remember that toddlers are still sorting out the difference between "I" and "you," so it helps to refer to yourself as "I" not "Mommy" or "Daddy." Say "I can't let you do that" rather than "Mommy doesn't want you to do that. …

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