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    Copy & Add - A Top Tip to Expand Your Toddler's Sentences

    Updated: Jul 31, 2020

    A really useful way to encourage your child's talking is the 'copy and add' trick - repeating what your child says and then adding on one more word.


    • Shows your child that you are interested in listening to them

    • Will motivate them to interact with you

    • Let's them hear what they could be saying

    Try following your child's lead by copying their actions and adding a word. For example, if your child is playing with a dolly, giving it a cuddle, you can do the same (with another dolly).

    You can add single words or longer sentences e.g. 'baby', 'baby sleeping', 'baby eating', 'baby drinking'.

    When you copy your child, it shows them that you have heard what they are trying to say; copying can help your child to:

    • Hear words pronounced correctly -

    Child: 'tain cwa'

    Adult: 'yes, train crashed'

    • Help your child to extend their vocabulary -

    Child: 'baby there'

    Adult: 'baby in bed'

    It's a good idea to introduce new words to your child but in a way that makes it easy for them to understand; not using too many words or sentences.

    As a general rule, try to use words that are one step above your child's level:

    Your child uses no words........... Use single words e.g. 'banana'

    Your child uses single words..... Use 2 word phrases e.g. 'want banana?'

    Your child uses 2 word phrases..... Use 3 word phrases e.g. 'want more banana?'

    Try not to worry about how your child says their words and don't ask them to copy, just show them through your own speech.

    The good thing is, you don't need any special toys for copying and adding; every day routines like meal time, bath time and getting dressed are the perfect time to practise. Have fun!

    Jenny SLT

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