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My son is 2.3yrs. Right now we keep reading books for him. He pays attention only for some time. We also keep teaching letters and numbers during his bed time or during his bath. When asked he repeats most of them with similar modulation. But, when he wants to convey something he uses only words and some expressions. He doesn't try sentences yet. What is the best way to make him start at least mumbling sentences?

One more thing, I heard alot about Montessori type of teaching for kids. Are there any techniques or tools available so that we can use those at home? We are planning to put in a play school not exactly Monetessori based but something similar they say.

Any pointers/links for best practices for teaching kids will be of great help.

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with not making sentences at his age. –  j.rightly May 11 '11 at 2:00
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5 Answers

Montessori is a method of teaching. Like all teaching methods, you have good teachers and bad teachers.

From Wikipedia:

Although the Montessori name is recognized by many, it is not a trademark, and it is associated with more than one organization. Schools and teacher training programs can differ in their interpretation, intensity, practical application, and philosophy in using this method with children

I think the Montessori method is fantastic (my son is 21 months) but that is just something you'll need to follow up on your own. For what it's worth, Steiner (or Waldorf education) is an alternative method.

Regarding your son (not) mumbling sentences, your traditional teacher will ask questions like "does he understand you" etc. to rule out learning difficulties or something like Autism. After that, they will say he will figure it out in his own time.

It sounds like you are doing the right thing, my only suggestion is to be patient and go to a Montessori open day.

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Thanks for your reply. Regarding sentences, he very well understands and sometimes he even understands our next move. Only problem is he is lazy in speaking sentences...but if we insist to tell the sentence, he mumbles along with us. –  Prakash Apr 25 '11 at 10:42
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+1 for "be patient". And @Prakash, keep reading, reading, reading. Try to find good quality kids' books too. Reading one classic book with a good story 100 times is better than reading 100 different "fluff" or gimmick books. –  Nathan Apr 29 '11 at 19:46
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Prakash,
You have asked a challenging question; "what are the best teaching methods at Home?" It sounds like you are already doing a great deal to teach your son. So I will try give pointers from my point of view to add to what you are already doing.

At home, I believe (and others may disagree) that the best teaching methods for young children are centered around imaginative play with adults and children. Adults modeling the adult behavior expected from the child as he or she grows up.

Some of the play components that I think are valuable:

  • Types of play: teasing, role play, athletics, building/assembling, story telling, drawing, cooking, music, puppets, and more. Play in a variety of modes. Let anything become play.
  • Call and response: focus on the current behavior of your child and respond in a way similar to their behavior. Model the behavior you want to encourage, but be patient.
  • Divergent play: allow the rules to change as the playing is ongoing, avoid too much single solution type games, be flexible.
  • Especially at such a young age, avoid teaching tools that remove an interacting adult from the experience. Electronic toys, videos, etc. can be a part of child play but not a substitute for a living breathing adult who can gauge and respond to the child's interests.

A few resources that I have found valuable for a parent trying to learn how children learn:

If you are worried that your son is delayed in language seek out an evaluation from a physician. Here are some resources online for childhood development.

Best to you and your son.

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Sounds interesting. I will try out those methods. Thanks alot for your advise and pointers. –  Prakash May 10 '11 at 4:09
    
+1 for emphasizing the importance of interaction with an adult! –  Marie Hendrix Jul 29 '11 at 11:57
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The big thing we do is be sure to model proper, age appropriate, sentences around our son. So for example at dinner instead of saying "would you hand me the peas, honey?" my wife would catch our son's attention and clearly enunciate "more peas please, daddy", and "thank you" after I gave them to her.

The other thing we did, was once we knew he was able to say all the words, we stopped accepting the point and grunt from him. If he wanted more peas, he had to say at least "more peas please". It's amazing how much teaching you can do around the dinner table in the course of a meal.

Those really helped getting him to use sentences closer to age appropriate. (He was way behind with expressive language, so in reality he's still not at the level his peers are, but we're catching up!)

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I'd agree that leading by example is a great start, but I wouldn't worry too much about age appropriate sentences - My 2 year old actually copies my wife exactly sometimes and says "Would you hand me the peas please, darling?" to me! –  Jon Hadley May 13 '11 at 12:23
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@Jon If the sentence is too complex for them to actually parse and understand, then they're just parroting it... which is great for learning sounds, but doesn't help them form their own sentences. We've always tried to stay a bit ahead of what our son is capable of, give him stretch goals. (At the direction of his speech teacher.) And of course we don't always do it... probably only a few times a day when we're consciously working with him on it... so he still hears lots of normal speech. –  cabbey May 14 '11 at 21:58
    
Both Jon and Cabbey are right here, but why is the formation of correct and full sentences such a big deal at 2? They should keep modeling just speaking as they normally do. If he parrots them fine, if he starts speaking in sentences great! –  balanced mama Oct 29 '12 at 22:50
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Why are you concerned about this? I ask because it relates to how you should respond. If you are having difficulties understanding him then you should focus on taking more time to get a response you can understand. But I have the sense that you feel he ought to be able to use sentences by now (esp. when you make comments like he is 'lazy about using sentences')

I've never met a lazy two year old. They are very busy, there are so many things to learn, and they all focus on different things at different times. But if clear communication is high on your priorities then make sure you are communicating with your son all the time.

Speak in clear sentences and look for signs he has understood

Listen to him, and try to expand on his conversation. SHow him you have heard what he said by repeating it back to him (politely, of course) You can also translate it into a sentence - to show him how. So he says 'ball!' you say 'could you pass me the ball please mummy?'

Try not to worry about whether he has hit the milestones, there's plenty of time after all

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+ for pointing out that there is plenty of time! AND stating that that two year olds are not lazy simply because they are not forming full sentences yet. –  balanced mama Oct 29 '12 at 22:53
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Learning language and speech is very complex. Because children acquire language without "formal instruction," we often fail to recognize the enormity of task. Children learn sentences by adding a word or two to their average spontaneous utterances as their gain vocabulary and skill with language.

As a speech language pathologist, a very general rule of thumb is that 2 year olds should be using 2 word phrases or longer. When speaking with children, adults sometimes use sentences that are MUCH longer. This higher level language is just too much for some youngster to decode so they keep it simple by communicating with single words.

Begin where your child is and model the very next step. If he is using only single words, repeat his word and add only one word to it. For example, he says: milk. You respond with: want milk? After using this strategy for a while, combining words will "click." Then the challenge will be for you to use 3-4 words (and no more) when he is using 2 word phrases. Keeping just one step ahead of your child is the key.

Having a child to imitate a longer sentence actually trains different areas of the brain than setting them up for spontaneous although shorter utterances.

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+1 for "Keeping just one step ahead of your child is the key." Nice answer. –  Beofett Jul 29 '11 at 1:04
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