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Useful Words To Teach A Toddler - Learn To Communicate

When To Start Teaching Words To Babies

Most babies start saying their first words at around one years old. Nevertheless, the journey into speech should start much earlier.

At as early as birth, infants can begin being spoken to

Of course, these tiny babies will make poor conversationalists. No one would expect the discussion between parent and baby to really delve into the differences between Chekhov and Shakespeare. 

Still, such early verbal interactions provide a whole host of valuable perks.

Some parents would even go so far as to say that the conversations should start while the child is still in the womb.

How To Teach Words To Babies

Now, your way for teaching speech generally and words specifically to a baby will come down to your style, your mood and the situation. 

8 Way To Teach Words To Babies

Here are 8 methods of how you can teach new words to a baby:

  1. Read a Book - Books are a captivating way to teach new words to a baby. Don't limit yourself to the words on the page. Discuss with your little-one what's going on in the plot-line or in the pictures.
  2. Sing a Song - Like books, songs can really draw a baby in to listen to the lyrics. You can either sing one of the classics or compose your very own. Be sure to add extra emphasis if a new word makes an appearance.
  3. Child Repeats After You - When using a word that your little may not recognize, explain to them the definition and then have them try to say it after you.
  4. Act It Out - Put on a mini-show on the meaning and usage of the new word. Be sure to have the little-one join in so the lesson gets internalized. 
  5. Turn On a Video - Find the right video on YouTube that displays the definition and context of a word. Sometimes a visual will help explain something to a child more than words ever could.
  6. Use Sign Language - Acting out the motions while communicating sign language, both requires an understanding from the toddler and furthers their understanding. 
  7. Verbally Identify Everything - Even if you won't be having a complete conversation regarding each new word, you can still verbally identify everything the two of you come across. This will, more gradually, build up your child's vocabulary in a lasting way.
  8. Enunciate Syllables - This is exceptionally important if your toddler struggles to pronounce words correctly or if they lazily settle for baby-talk. Your enunciation will help them remember the order of syllables but will also convey the importance of clear speech.

Useful Words For Toddlers - List Criteria

Now that you hopefully have learned something about when and how to teach new words to toddlers, let us get to this vocabulary-list for two-year-olds and up.

These words will help your child articulate themselves so as to improve communication.

But first, a few criteria. We won't be including in this list the basic words that babies learn very early on. Obviously they're important, but most of them are quite, well, obvious. Eat, water, book, bed - all out.

Also, we will not be including words that, while impressive for a toddler to know them, aren't really usable in day-to-day conversation. Sorry to all the dinosaur enthusiasts and power tool mavens! 

Finally, the words listed here must remain in the realm of toddlers. So, although technically usable by a toddler, words like association, superfluous and filibuster, will be excluded as well.

We share a bunch of words as they are categorized by topic, along with an example sentence to help with toddler contexts. 

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump to the topics that you are most interested in.

Useful Words To Teach A Toddler About Emotions

Five Useful Words To Teach Toddler About Emotions

  • Frustrated - "Honey, you've tried to get that bike out so many times! You seem frustrated."
  • Shy - "I see you're not speaking to the children. Are you feeling shy?"
  • Excited - "I also can't wait to see grandma! We are so excited!"
  • Annoyed - "I'm sorry your baby sister is speaking over Cocomelon. You must be annoyed."
  • Confident - "All that practice has paid off! You ride that scooter so confidently!"
  • Attitude - "It all depends on our attitudes."

Useful Words To Teach A Toddler For Socializing

  • Stranger - "I know he's still a stranger, but..."
  • Meet - "I want you to say hello to the new boy. You two should meet."
  • Introduce - "Let me introduce you two. This is Bobby. This is Fred."
  • Conversation - "Both of you love trucks. You'll have a fantastic conversation."
  • Listen - "Listen to Bobby talk about his favorite truck."
  • Friend - "I'm glad you made a new friend today!"

Useful Words To Teach A Toddler About Manners

  • Excuse Me - "Excuse me Alyssa, I'm going to squeeze passed you."
  • Mistake - "Oops! I didn't mean to knock that ball out of your hands. My mistake."
  • Apology - "Please accept my apology for what I did wrong."
  • Polite - "I loved how you said thank you to the candy-man. It was very polite."
  • May I - "Are you finished eating? May I take your plate?"
  • Unacceptable - "Taking your sister's snack is unacceptable."
  • Inappropriate - "Potty jokes at the dinner table are inappropriate."

Useful Words To Teach A Toddler When They Do A Good Job 

  • Bravo - "That drawing is stunning. Bravo!"
  • Earn - "The work was really hard. You earned it!"
  • Celebrate - "This calls for a celebration."
  • Proud - "You should be very proud of yourself."
  • Professional - "My darling is a professional artist."
  • Exceptional - "You did an exceptional job!"

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Learning New Skills

  • Difficult - "Riding a bike does seem difficult."
  • Brave - ״I know how brave you are. You'll give anything a try."
  • Try - "Go on and give it a try!"
  • Practice - "No one is good at anything on their first try. You need to practice."
  • Persistent - "If you are persistent you will slowly get better at it."
  • Improve - "I see improvements already!"

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Following Instructions

  • Instructions - "These are your instructions big guy."
  • Follow - "I need you to follow them."
  • Attention - "You need to pay attention to know what daddy wants."
  • Eye-Contact - "Please make eye-contact with me so I am sure you're listening."
  • Distraction - "I think the TV is distracting you."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Music

  • Vibe - "What vibe does this song give you?"
  • Melody - "The melody is easy to sing!"
  • Lyrics - "There are so many lyrics to this song. Who can remember them all?"
  • Instrument - "Which instrument do you want to learn?"
  • Musician - "The musician did a terrific job on the trumpet."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler That Show Placement

  • Right - "Take that path on the right."
  • Left - "We'd get lost if we took the one on the left."
  • Above - "Look above that hill, there's a grey bunny!"
  • Below - "Far below is where most of the shops are."
  • Nearby - "But there's a small ice cream shop nearby."
  • Forward - "You're a big girl, so your carseat faces forward."
  • Backward - "Austin is just a baby, so he faces backward."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Liking Things

  • Enjoy - "Did you enjoy the book?"
  • Favorite - "Yes! That book was my favorite so far."
  • Priority - "Reading should be a priority for everyone."
  • Delight - "No matter what we're doing, it's always a delight to spend time with you."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Body Parts

  • Throat - "My throat's been bothering me since the start of the season."
  • Chin - "If you raise your chin, you'll be more comfy."
  • Chest - "There's a mosquito bite smack in middle of your chest."
  • Heel - "Try to jump from your heel. It feels different."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Getting Dressed

  • Button - "This button is being tricky this morning."
  • Zipper - "This zipper zips as smooth as butter."
  • Pocket - "These socks have a secret pocket."
  • Raise - "Raise one leg at a time for your pants."
  • Independent - "You put on that last shoe so independently!"
  • Style - "Good choice of shirt, I like your style."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About The Potty

  • Cooperate - "Cooperate with mommy so she can change your diaper."
  • Flush - "The flushing noise isn't scary at all."
  • Urge - "Do your feel the urge to go?"
  • Sanitary - "We wash our hands after the potty for sanitary reasons."

Useful Words To Teach A Toddler For The Kitchen

  • Counter - "You can place your bowl on the counter."
  • Pantry - "The cereal is in the pantry."
  • Fridge - "The milk? That's in the fridge."
  • Container - "There're blueberries in a container. You can pour some on."
  • Beware - "Beware! The oven is very hot."
  • Fry - "I'm going to fry for you some scrambled eggs."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Car Rides

  • Fasten - "Is your seatbelt fastened?"
  • Bluetooth - "Give me a minute and I'll connect Raffi to Bluetooth."
  • Traffic - "Sorry it's taking this long Bubba, traffic is bad."
  • Karaoke - "Sing 'Down By The Bay' along with Raffi. It's car karaoke!"
  • Trunk - "Don't worry, your backpack is in the trunk."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About School

  • Behave - "If you behave kindly, your teacher will love you!"
  • Backpack - "All your art projects are in your backpack."
  • Learn - "You've learned so much!"
  • Interesting - "I find that thought you shared so interesting."
  • Interrupt - "Don't interrupt the teacher!"

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler For When They Get Hurt

  • Scrape - "It's a small scrape. Let's put a bandaid on it."
  • Mosquito - "The mosquito thinks you taste sweet."
  • Balance - "You lost your balance when you were jumping!"
  • Heal - "Rest for a little while and it will heal on its own."
  • Pain - "Are you still in pain?"

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Eating

Five Useful Words To Teach Toddlers About Eating

  • Healthy - "It might be yummy, but is it healthy?"
  • Satisfying - "This fish is so satisfying."
  • Thirsty - "Have some water, you must be thirsty."
  • Enough - "Have you had enough?"
  • Cool - "Blow on those potatoes so they cool down."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Bath Time

  • Rinse - "Rinse your hair with warm water."
  • Drain - "Be sure to open the drain as you leave the bath."
  • Tilt - "Tilt your head back, so the water doesn't get in your eyes."
  • Scrub - "Armpits and neck need extra scrubbing."
  • Soak - "Just play in the bath for a while and soak."
  • Washcloth - "Rub the soap into the washcloth."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Bedtime

  • Exhausted - "You've had a long day, you must be exhausted."
  • Comfortable - "Are you comfortable with all those lovies in your crib?
  • Cozy - "This extra blanket will make you super cozy."
  • Cuddle - "I love cuddling with you before bedtime."
  • Lullaby - "This is the lullaby grandma would sing to me."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Going Shopping

  • Cart - "Let's first grab a shopping cart."
  • List - "We can start going through our list."
  • Try - "This looks nice let's go try it on."
  • Pay - "We still need to pay."
  • Wallet - "One second, let me get my wallet from my pocket."
  • Card - "This one lets me pay with my money from my bank."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About The Park

  • Outside - "Let's go outside, it such a sunny day."
  • Stroll - "Let's go on a stroll to the park."
  • Vision - "Don't go far! Stay within my vision."
  • Turn - "You've already gone down the slide. Give someone else a turn."
  • Neighbors - "It's such a nice day, all of our neighbors have come to play too!"
  • Stranger - "We should be friendly to strangers but always make sure mommy or daddy can see you!"
  • Litter - "We need to keep this park clean, no littering!"
  • Hydrate - "We need to keep drinking water to stay hydrated."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler For A Restaurant

  • Open - "Hooray! The restaurant is open."
  • Menu - "Let me have a look at this menu."
  • Waiter - "Excuse me, Mr. waiter, we're ready."
  • Order - "I'd like to order some mushroom pizza."
  • Chef - "Compliments to the chef for these taters."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Playing With Toys

  • Imagination - "You can play as a queen if you use your imagination!"
  • Sharing - "Make sure to give your sister a turn. Sharing is caring!"
  • Rowdy - "It might not be a great idea to get so rowdy inside the house."
  • Tidy - "I love the way you put those blocks on the shelf. Nice and tidy!"
  • Shelf - "Our shelves hold all of our toys."
  • Either - "You can play with either the magna-tiles or the tea set."
  • Available - "That slinky is available."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Screen-Time

  • Limit - "We love spending time with our family and friends, so let's make sure to limit watching."
  • Educational - "I like that one because it's more educational."
  • Boring - "You don't need to watch the show for little babies, it might be boring to you."
  • Battery - "We need to be patient with the tablet, the battery is recharging."
  • Navigate - "It's a little confusing, let mommy navigate the screen."
  • Fictional - "Don't worry, this show is fictional."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Parents Night-Out

  • Alone - Mommy and daddy will be spending some time together alone. We love talking to each other!"
  • Babysitter - "Emma is the most fun babysitter!"
  • Responsible - "She's so responsible, she can take care of everything."
  • Miss - "It's ok if you miss us. We'll be back later tonight."
  • Protected - "Emma is a big girl. You'll be protected."

Useful Words To Teach Your Toddler About Going On A Trip

  • Vacation - "We're going on vacation to Mexico in June!"
  • Suitcase - "We will fit everything we need in this suitcase."
  • Pack - "Be sure to pack your toothbrush!"
  • Steward/ess - "We can ask that steward for some apple juice."
  • Delay - "Oh, no. Our flight was delayed thirty minutes."
  • Ticket - "Make sure to hold onto your ticket!"
  • Taxi - "Let's find a taxi to take us to the airport."
  • Wander - "Don't wander too far. I don't want you getting lost!"
  • Blast - "This vacation has been a blast!"
  • Remember - "We're going to remember this trip forever!"

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