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Asking your toddler questions

Make up your own story

Asking questions and making comments encourages your baby to speak.

You can help your baby practice new words by chatting every day.

Remember to make more comments than questions, in this way you will be teaching your child new words and showing them how conversations work.

Talk and chat about anything and everything as you go about your day. When you talk about what your child is doing, or things that interest them, it shows them you’re interested and paying attention to them.

Show me comments can help to engage toddlers in conversations before they have the words to answer questions, for example; show me where your shoes are, show me which cup you would like. When you do this you can answer for them, Oh, well done. You found your shoes by the back door. or You would like the big, green cup.

There are games you can play with questions. For example Where is your…?’

  • Try this in a calm, quiet place without too many distractions. Sit with your child in front of you so they can focus on what you’re doing.
  • Ask Where is your nose? and encourage them to point.
  • Join in to show them what you mean. Praise them when they respond correctly. Yes, that’s right, that’s where your nose is!
  • Once they understand the game, try asking other questions like Where’s my nose? or How many fingers? or Can you wriggle your toes?
  • As their language develops let your child take the lead and ask you questions.

Start questions and comments by saying your baby’s name. This will make sure you have their attention.

Your baby will enjoy games like this, but they’ll also be enjoying spending time with you and having all of your attention.

Top tip

Make sure you give your child time to think and respond when you ask them a question, (at least ten seconds).

Good to know

Responding to your questions and comments supports your baby's thinking skills and supports their vocabulary.