I can’t understand my child’s words!

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My child is finally beginning to use words, but I can’t understand anything he/she says…

At this young age, it is normal to not understand everything your child says. Generally, a simple way to determine your child’s intelligibility (or his/her ability to be understood by others) is to take your child’s age and divide by four.   This determines the amount (percent) of your child’s speech that you should understand (i.e. 2 years/4=50%).  This may change depending on context and complexity of what your child is saying. Additionally, unfamiliar listeners may understand even less of what your child is saying.

The focus of intervention prior to age three is to make sure your child’s language skills are near age-appropriate before solely focusing on  his/her intelligibility.  When it is appropriate to begin targeting speech sounds, make it fun!  For example, you can give sounds different names:

/p/- popper sound

/b/- bounce sound

/m/- yummy sound

/h/- laughing sound

You can also make fun noises throughout play activities that contain difficult sounds for your child:

  • scared noises (i.e.“ah” or  “ee” to work on vowels)
  • find animal noises that contain the sound (i.e. “baa” to target consonant or vowel sound)
  • sneeze sounds (“achoo”)
  • Practice sounds in silly places: in front of a mirror before bedtime or in the car

Head outside and enjoy the weather


Since it is finally getting warm out, it is a great time to play with water!  Set a water tray outside. Practice similar language concepts that you normally do, but get wet while doing it! find big and small items around the house that you can put into your tray, you can discuss the functions of different items that you put into your tray (boat swims and plane flies), you can also expand your child’s vocabulary by discussing when things are wet vs. dry.

The Must-Have Toy for Every Child

Toy of the Month: Mr. Potato Head

Toddlers love playing with the traditional toy so many parents played with as a child! Not only can you build a silly face, Mr. Potato Head helps teach body parts and facial expressions. For your older child, you can take it a step further and discuss the function of each body part.