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Talking Toddlers

Parenthood. It’s the worlds scariest ride.

How do you ensure that your child develops their communication skills and learns good manners at the same time?

First time Dad and AIMN contributor Matt Rae offers a few ideas.

We often get asked questions like, ‘when did he start talking?’, ‘when did he start having conversations?’ etc. Truth is, he has been having conversations with us since he was one and half.

Some people are astonished at his pronunciation, and his already developed understanding of English. No, I don’t think my kid is a genius. Although, I don’t think he is a dummy either.

The reason he has developed rather quickly in this way is because we actually engage with him. I don’t just mean a ‘yeah ok, whatever’ kind of thing either. I find a lot of parents that seem to think children are best seen, but not heard. We did attend a play group a year or so ago, and my wife has been to a mother’s group in the past too. We found most, if not all the parents, would rather be drinking their coffee’s and talking about some boring adult G rated bullshit.

Sure, I also love my coffee, and my adult conversation. But I’ve been having those for years, and will have many more to come.

At these groups, and in general, I often see this situation. The kids are off doing kid things, and when they approach the ‘adult table’, they are met with one word answers, or a frustrated parent getting out of their seat to get a drink or something to eat for the child.

I am no saint, I’m also guilty of doing this at times.

However, we have taught our little boy to come over to us and if someone is talking, he places his hand on the shoulder or arm of the person he wishes to address, and waits for the speaking to stop.

He will then announce his intent. He is met will full eye contact, and total focus, like any other human would expect when they are speaking to someone.

He is also met with a meaningful conversation in return. If he does not understand something, it is explained.

The adults can wait. Adults are used to waiting.

My point is, that what you get out of your child is what you put in.

We devote time both together, and one on one with him to play, actually play. Engage with him, draw, paint, read, or just, talk.

It is hard at times, and I would rather be doing something else sometimes too. But, you indeed see the results for your efforts in time.

Right now, our little guy is 3 and half. He has just been signed up for pre-school this year. We took him in the other day. The teachers went over what would be learnt. Numbers, alphabet, colours etc, which he already knows well. He has even began writing.

I am proud to say he can write his name, my name, mum, and dad.

He can also write a few other beauty’s:


Hehe…. got to have a little fun right?

I may be winging it through fatherhood most of, if not all the time. I do know however, that you should treat your toddler like any other human. Not just a 2ft tall nuisance, even though at times, he or she might be exactly that. 🙂



  1. Pingback: Now appearing on AIM Extra | The UnsimpleLife

  2. Michael Taylor

    I was a little angel, of course.

  3. JohnB

    My experience as a parent (looking back 14 years) –
    While the children were toddlers it was all so easy – life at home went on almost normal with parents continuing ‘pre-child’ routines with minor modification to activities around bath & bed times.
    We could continue to watch our favourite TV/news programs, read books/mags etc with only minor interruption/inconvenience.

    On reaching school age it got a little more difficult and sometimes frustrating – children began understanding more about what was happening around them, I started to find it difficult to maintain concentration on habitual recreational activities – it became more difficult/uncomfortable to engage in television, as language, depiction of violence in both news and drama rendered it unsuitable to watch with my young children about. Was disgusted with biased lying MSM, so the break was due anyway.

    So, I abandoned the TV – it became a vehicle for the children to watch their DVD’s, cartoons, serials, playstations, Wii etc. We set up a media player on a harddrive loaded with their choice of entertainment, and let them run their own show. Spent many hours with them watching pokemon, superman, yu gi oh etc and lightly overseeing various games.

    With the arrival of school homework, it too has become a joint activity for a few hours each evening, all without the intrusion of TV.
    The computer became both my news and brain food source, doubling as the homework research tool as required – we have never looked back since. Parenting is a full time job, even til the mid teens – but it has many rewards.

    Some 14 years later, we still don’t watch more that a few hours of broadcast TV per year – and it is not missed.
    Never far from a radio though, set on ABC current affairs/news, but even the ABC radio has become dreary/infuriating at times with IPA infiltration more rampant.

  4. kathysutherland2013

    Matt, I do hope you teach him about the correct use of apostrophes!

  5. edward eastwood

    @kathysutherland2013; My mum used to tell me that I was sitting on my apostrophe! 🙂

  6. edward eastwood

    @kathysutherland2013; That’s up for debate kathy, but I can tell you that when I freed my plural possessive, my apostrophe followed.

  7. unsimplelife

    @kathysutherland2013; Thanks, and yes I intend to. Typing does make me lazy though I will admit.

  8. unsimplelife

    @JohnB; We have it pretty good I am led to believe. I’d say I am due for some payback when he gets to his teens. I cringe at some of the things I put my mother through at times. 🙂

    We have actually had broadcast TV off in our place for around eight months. I don’t miss it at all, get my news fix from the internet. Download the TV I/we actually want to watch.

    Aside from the odd game, short cartoon or something the little guy stays away from it. Would rather pick up a book, makes me proud.

  9. kathysutherland2013

    Books rule, unsimplelife. Good one! My granddaughters would rather go to the museum than the shops! Proud of that.

  10. rossleighbrisbane

    I remember telling my son as a slight less than 2yo, that he was being unreasonable. Then, I paused and thought that maybe it was a bit too much to expect him to listen to reason at that age.
    Lately, he has the same problem with me, but no hope that I’ll ever grow into an age where he can reason with me.
    Of course there is an entire backbench in Canberra not sure whether they’re in my position or my son’s!

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