Speech Therapy for Toddlers: Don't Be Annoying

Speech Therapy for Toddlers: Don’t Be Annoying

Ever have one of those moments when you hear or see yourself on a video and think, “Is that really me? Am I really doing that? I had one of those aha moments last month when I was watching a video of my daughter saying a new word.



Photo Credit: Visentico / Sento

Before you click on the video, read this background information:

In this video, my daughter was 16.5 months old. It was post bath time and we were getting ready for bed. I worked a long day and drove 45 minutes (in NJ traffic) to my parent’s house where my mom babysits when I work (For any of my FB fans or long term followers, K used to be in daycare but I recently took her out due to health reasons). I arrived home in a stellar mood. I had fantastic sessions. My clients were making nice progress and their parents were happy. When my clients are happy, I’m happy. So, when I saw my little girl after being away for a few hours, I was very excited. I was even more thrilled when I learned that she picked up a new word - ICE. I decided to video record her because my husband was traveling and I was hoping to share it with him. As you’ll soon see, K is feisty, smart, mischievous, cute and, has A LOT of hair!

Now that you have the background information, ponder the following questions when viewing this video:

  1. When does she say ice?

  2. Why do you think she said ice?

  3. Why do you think she wouldn’t say it again?

  4. What am I doing wrong?

  5. Have you been guilty of acting like me?

Got it?

Now, click on the video:

So…what are you thinking? Feel free to comment below. I love hearing from "the other side"!

Here are some answers to my questions:

When does she say ice?

  • Answer: In the first clip of the video, she easily and effortlessly says “ice” in response to my direct yet pressure-free question – “Do you want some ice?”

Why do you think she said ice?

  • Answer: Of course, I don’t know for certain, but I believe she said ice, because I wasn’t putting direct pressure on her to “perform” or imitate me. Additionally, the target word “ice” was included at the end of my question (“Do you want some ice?”) so she had immediately heard it and it was fresh in her mind.

Why do you think she wouldn’t say it again?

  • Answer: Because I was annoying! First off, she already said “ice” so in her little mind and pragmatically speaking, why should she have to say it again? Secondly, not only was I staring at her and demanding that she say ice, but she had an audience to perform in front of – my own mother and my uncle. It makes sense that she clammed up and didn’t or couldn’t say it again.

What am I doing wrong?

  • Answer: Hint: If you have a print copy of My Toddler Talks – turn to page 15. What is the first “R” in “RAISES”? I violated one of my own tips! What’s funny is that, I would never put so much pressure on one of my little clients. In fact, I often coach my parents to NOT act like this. So, why then was I so demanding and persistent?

Because I wasn't acting as a speech therapist.

 I was a mom.

An overly-excited mom who wanted to hear her daughter imitate a word as validation that her daughter - had it. I wanted K's volitional imitation of “ice” as reassurance that it was acquired and that she could do it again on command.

Have you been guilty of acting like me?

  • That’s for you to reflect on.

By seeing myself in action, as a mom NOT a speech therapist, I learned a great deal. I learned that sometimes it’s hard to remember all the right things to do in the moment.  More importantly, I learned that the next time my K says a new word, I’m going to enjoy the moment. Savor it. I’m not going to demand and pressure that she say it again and again. Simply, I’m not going to annoy her too much.


Yes, we were all pretty impressed with her coming out, quite assertively, with “I said that!” None of us were expecting it – which can be the topic of entirely different post – “Sometimes Language Happens When You Least Expect It”.