Boost Verbal and Play Skills in Your 1-Year-Old

Congratulations! You just celebrated your baby’s first birthday. The next 12 months will be an exciting time as your child learns to walk, talk, and more.

While all children develop differently, many 1-year-olds can say four to six simple words and will build up to a vocabulary of 100 or more words by age 2. Try these steps to help your child develop verbal skills:

• Read to your child every day using picture and story books.

• Talk to your child with clear, simple language about what you are doing.

• Use the correct names for objects, even if your child does not. For example, if your child says, “Wa-wa,” reply by saying, “Water, that’s right.”

• Expand your child’s sentences. If your child says, “Want cookie,” you say, “Do you want another cookie?”

You may notice that your 1-year-old is curious and likes to see what’s inside drawers and boxes. At this age, many children also engage in make-believe play by imitating housework, feeding a doll, or other tasks they have seen at home. Here’s how to make playtime a time for growth:

• Choose toys that encourage imaginary play, and others that can be filled and emptied.

• Give your child simple two- to six-piece puzzles and balls of all sizes.

• Help your child build towers of blocks.

• Provide paper and large crayons to scribble and draw.

• Encourage your child to “help” you with household tasks.

When it’s time to eat, feed your child at family mealtimes. And when your child misbehaves, provide consistent firm, appropriate discipline without yelling or hitting.

Online Medical Reviewer: Desrosiers, Florence MD

Date Last Reviewed: 4/2/2010

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