Some Thoughts on Toddler Language Development

This past week, we had an epic morning filled with toddler tantrums. After the tantrums subsided, I analyzed what had happened and jotted down some thoughts based on toddler language development and how to survive a future one. Just some thoughts are listed below.

  • A toddler’s receptive language (what she understands) is higher than her expressive language (how she communicates). I know that that discrepancy would be frustrating for me, even as an adult.
  • A toddler has very little control of her environment. For the majority of her day, she is being told where to be and what to do. To help your child feel as if she has the power, yet you maintain control, try giving her choices. Ex: If you are having trouble getting to the car, give the choice of “you can walk to the car or I can carry you to the car.” Wait and see how she responds.
  • Some battles aren’t worth fighting. If the girl wants the blue cup, she can have the blue cup. If she wants to jump off the back of the couch to her doom, now that’s a different story!
  • Whining is an easier sound for a toddler to produce, and generally more effective, than using words. Often tantrums are powerful for a child because she gets exactly what she wants. As hard as it is, try to make her words more powerful than the tantrum by waiting for her to calm and by having her use a sign and/or a word before you give into a demand. Ex: If your child is whining to be picked up, have her replace the whine with a sign and/or a word before you pick her up.

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