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

QMy two-year-old is putting words together and starting to make sentences. It's just precious. But I'm wondering if I should correct him when he mispronounces a word or says things the wrong way. If so, when and how?

- C.H., Houston

Alt's exciting when young children begin to express themselves with words. At this age, all you need to do is to correct garbled words and sentences in a gentle, indirect way.

For example, toddlers often refer to themselves as "me" instead of "I." When they do, just keep the train of thought going. "Yes, you and I are going to the park."

Or if your child points to a peach and says "apple," say, "Oh, you want to eat a peach."

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

RESPOND TO THE INTENDED MEANing rather than the child's actual words. For example, if he says, "I want to carry you," you could just say, "You want me to carry you." By correctly stating what the child is trying to say, you're letting him know that you understood him and, at the same time, have reinforced the proper word order.

REMEMBER, TODDLERS ARE STILL SORTING OUT the difference between "I" and "you," so it helps to refer to yourself as "I" rather than "Mommy" or "Daddy." Instead of saying "Mommy doesn't want you to do that," say "I can't let you do that. …

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