Here are some things that you can do to teach a toddler to talk. (If you believe that your toddler may be developmentally delayed, call your pediatrician. He may arrange a hearing test and/or evaluation with an Early Intervention.)

1. Get him to look at you while you speak.
Have him look at your face while you say words. For instance, hold up his toy car next to your face so he can see how your mouth looks when you talk. Do this during one on one playtime with your toddler. Watching your mouth can help teach a toddler to talk.

2. Use simple words
When you play with your toddler, use simple words. For example, say things like “go, car, go” when playing with a car. This will help him stay focused and keep him from being overwhelmed.

3. Try a higher pitch
Using a sing-song voice adds interest to what you are saying. Your toddler will pay more attention and try to imitate you.

4. Repetition.
The more he hears you say a word, the more likely he will be to try it. For instance, to teach the word “ball”, use phrases like “get the ball” “roll ball” “give ball to mama” over and over again, focusing on that one word in every sentence. Hearing the word repeatedly will teach your toddler to talk.

5. Use sound effects.
Take a crayon and some paper and draw loops, making sound effects as you draw loops, zig zags, and other shapes. Push a car and say “vroom, vroom” or show him toy farm animals and make their sounds. This teaches your toddler to talk because he will learn new sounds and later use these sounds to make words.

6. Teach him sign language
Toddlers who sign have better verbal skills. Start by teaching him a few simple signs for words he might need on a daily basis like “milk”, “more”, “eat”, “drink”. At first your toddler won’t sign on his own, so when appropriate, take his hands and help him do it and then praise him for signing. Eventually he’ll sign on his own. Speech therapists recommend withholding items for which he is asking until the he has signed with or without help.

7. Talk to him constantly
As you go about your daily life with your toddler, talk to him. Talk about everything you do, even if it seems that baby isn’t paying attention. Tell him everything no matter how mundane. The more you talk, the more your toddler will talk.

8. Read to him
Read to your baby often, at least 30 minutes daily but preferably more. Point to and name pictures in books and repeat the name a few times so that your toddler has a chance to hear the word often.

9 Sing to him
Singing to your little one will keep him interested in the words you are saying. Even if you don’t know the words to a song, make up the words as you go along. Your baby will be amused and may try to sing along.

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