Best way to talk to toddlers

Learn about: Best way to talk to toddlers from Donna Holloran, MSW,...
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Best way to talk to toddlers

Parents often want to know, how can I talk to my child to get their attention and keep their attention? And parents often can be so wordy with their child. But just like when you and I are having a conversation, when you have an interesting voice, people pay attention to it. So that's what you want to think about with your child. So for example, if you want to teach your child something, be clear, use very short phrases and be clear. Think about that you want to use like a teaching tone, and maybe so for example it would be, "Brody's turn, Mommy's turn, Brody's turn." So give inflection and enunciation on the word that you really want them to hear. The next thing, think about empathy. Let's say your child's really upset and having some big feelings over something. So really, match the tone that they're using. So if they're mad, you're so mad, you're just mad, mad, mad, so that they really hear, "That's what I'm feeling right now." A lot of times parents are also wanting, in terms of discipline, they want to teach their child something. So be really clear and really firm about what it is. "Those are Mommy's glasses. Those are Daddy's shoes. Those are not for Brody." So be clear, be specific and be right on point. Often times parents want to know, how do I get their attention and keep it? I'll say, ask questions. Where did it go? Shrug your shoulders. Where did it go? Use hand gestures. Look around the room yourself. "I can't find it. Do you see it?" So again, put different inflection at different parts in the sentence, that will almost always get them. My favorite word to use to get a toddler is to say, in the middle of whatever it is you're doing, "Uh-oh. Uh-oh." They will almost always stop and look at you. "What are you doing? Where did it go? I hear Daddy." So be kind of interesting, a little bit exaggerated, and toddlers will hone in on exactly what you're saying, and they'll be like totally paying attention to you. It's amazing.

Learn about: Best way to talk to toddlers from Donna Holloran, MSW,...


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Donna Holloran, MSW

Parent Educator

Donna Holloran moved to Los Angeles from Indianapolis in 1984 to pursue her graduate education and to continue building on her passion---working with young children and their families.  After attaining her MSW from UCLA, Donna also received a Certification in Infant Mental Health.  She practices as a parent educator and child development specialist. In 1996, Donna founded Babygroup in Santa Monica, California.

Babygroup provides guidance and insight to parents of infants and young children in small, intimate parent-child groups, inspiring parents to recognize and respond appropriately to their child’s developmental needs. Babygroup is also about developing strong friendships for parents and children, resulting in a true community of support.

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