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If you could only say 10 words, what would they be?
Most likely, they would be words that could help you communicate your basic wants and needs. Often times, parents think they need to focus on concepts like colors, numbers, shapes, and names of objects. And those are important for children to learn to say…eventually. But for young children who are just starting to speak, these words may not be the most helpful for them. Because communication is such an important piece of development, and can improve behavior by reducing frustration, let’s talk about the 10 most important words you can teach your child to say!

#1: “More”

More swinging, more snacks, more tickling! There are so many things in your child’s life that he or she would like to ask for more of. This is a great word to teach your early communicator because it can be helpful for your child to use in a variety of situations.

#2: “Help”
From opening a snack container to turning on a toy, little hands need big helpers. Teaching your child to ask for help can reduce throwing or frustration when your little one can’t do something on their own.

#3: “Mom”/”Dad” (or another caregiver’s name)
Teach your child to call your name so he or she can get your attention to find you or show you something interesting!

#4: “Yes”, #5: “No”

Toddlers are notorious for saying “no” more often than yes, and maybe a little too much than we might want to hear it! But, answering both yes and no questions can be helpful for figuring out what your child wants and needs during daily activities.

#6: “Hi”, #7: “Bye-bye”

It’s important to teach social skills from an early age. By saying greetings like “hi” and “bye” to friends and family, you are encouraging both social skills and language skills, and showing them that communication can be fun!

#8: Their name
Teaching your child to say their name can help him or her socially interact with others. Being able to say their name is also important for safety reasons!

#9: “Milk”/”water”/favorite drink
So your child can let you know when he or she is thirsty! 

#10: Favorite snack
By being able to ask for “crackers” or an “apple”, your child can let you know he or she is hungry and what a favorite snack would be. 

Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
Proud Member of The Story Box Family