What’s going on for baby?

At this stage a child can understand more and more of what’s said to them — much more than they can say. And the more words they hear, the more they’ll learn.

They’ll show they can follow instructions with 1 or 2 steps, and will use a variety of ways to get their message across to their whānau.

They’ll also communicate using sounds, parts of words, some words, gestures (especially pointing), facial expressions and body language. As their vocabulary increases, they may start joining 2 words together.

How can parents and whānau help?

  • Pay close attention to their toddler’s efforts to communicate.
  • Check with their toddler that they have understood — ‘You want a drink?’
  • Repeat what their child has said back to them with the correct version, so they hear the right way — and in a tone that sounds encouraging rather than critical.
  • Use language-building strategies such as:
  • labelling things, actions and feelings
  • having conversations with them, reading and telling them stories
  • sharing waiata-ā-ringa, rhymes, songs and fingerplay.
  • Use parallel talk — describing what the child is doing as they are doing it.
  • Use self-talk — describing what parents are doing as they’re doing it.
  • Use stretch talk — extending what they’ve heard their child say. For example, the child says, ‘Doggie gone’, and the parent says, ‘Yes, the dog’s gone home now.’
  • Be encouraging of their toddler’s efforts to communicate.

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