23 July 2014

Communicating With Your Toddler

I read somewhere once that a toddler, by the age of 18 months, should have a vocabulary of 6-20 words. I use to think that Palmer wasn't saying much, but I realize now that she talks all the time. Most of it is jibber-jabber but there are definitely words there. And Palmer's understanding of words is incredible. The complexity of things she understands is truly amazing.

Palmer is able to follow simple and complex requests. She knows a number of familiar people and objects. And girlfriend knows how to throw down a tantrum when she can't communicate what it is she wants.

Now, obviously, communicating with Palmer at this age can be tricky. She is at the point where she wants to tell you something but she doesn't know the words how. We have a meltdown almost daily around our house and I believe it to be because Palmer cannot express to us what she wants or needs.

|| How Do We Communicate? ||
//Verbal// Verbal communication is the majority of how Mitch and I (an other adults) will communicate with Palmer. We read to her, explain things to her, talk to her all the time. Talking is our best way of communicating.

We are always talking out loud. In the grocery store, we talk about what fruit we see. Going for a walk, we point to rocks, "ba" (birds - I know this is what she's saying because she points to it. Ba can also mean a large number of things in our house - ball, bed, bath, book,...you get the idea) and "daas" (dogs). At home, we talk about objects around us. Anything we can do to build Palmer's language skills is important.

//Non Verbal// I think in our house, non verbal communication is a big part of Palmer's communicating with us. She will point to everything. Because her words are a limited number right now, conveying what she wants by pointing or physically getting what she wants is her main source of communication to us.

//Sign Language// Although we don't use this too much anymore, Palmer is aware of some basic words in sign language (whether the actual sign or made up ones that work for us). Words she knows are: please, thank you, all done, more, eat. This works for us on a daily basis, specifically around meal times.

Palmer's world is a bag of mixed emotions with a steep learning curve; one with communication skills that cannot keep up with her. It's challenging to communicate effectively when a 18 month old is involved, but we are making it work. I know we aren't the only family with toddler tantrums. I know we will get past this. So, for now, we do what we can to teach Palmer what she needs to know, to help her vocabulary grow, and to help her to become a good little communicator.

Linking up for the One Year and Beyond Series
Courtney // Heather // Sarah // Chastity // Hannah //  Jess // Colleen // Laura // Sarah // Leah // Faith

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