Toddler Talking and the Jello Incentive

Norton has made great strides in toddler talking.  Yes, he’s still dealing with a toddler language delay… but we’re overcoming it.  He’s babbling more.  He’s attempting words.  Some things, like “puppy” and “bubble” and “ball,” are said perfectly.  Some words (like “shoe” and “berry”) are less perfectly said, but still, it’s a huge toddler talking improvement.  I even know what he’s saying some of the time.

There are, however, some things that can convince Norton that he wants to attempt to use more words.  Usually, it’s because he wants something.

Today I had the opportunity to do a little grocery shopping on my own.  The husband stayed home with the kids while I discovered that I can really get through the stores in a hurry when I’m alone.  During that time, he made lime jello with fruit floating in it.  Jello fruit salad, I guess you’d call it?  (I’ve never been big on jello or canned fruit, so, um, yeah.)

Norton, however, loved it.  After our dinner of tacos, the husband gave him a small dish of jello.  He ate it and loved it.  It was rather entertaining; while Norton generally does a good job with a spoon, jello is a wiggly little dessert that can take practice.  And it can stick to the bowl.  Norton didn’t want to leave any of it behind, so he started licking the dish.  When I had seconds on my taco, Norton had seconds on the jello fruit stuff.  And then he wanted thirds…

I wasn’t too keen on giving him even more jello.  Then he started to whine and complain, which didn’t impress me at all.  Since we’re out to encourage toddler talking, I looked at him and told him firmly, “If you want more, then say so.  Can you say ‘more’?  ‘More?'”

And he did.

At first it was a hesitant little “mo.”  I was thrilled and asked the husband if he’d heard that.  And then I heard Norton say even more clearly and decisively, “Mo.”

Well, goodness.  What could I do after that wonderful display of toddler communication?  I gave him more jello.  And then I started wondering what other things can incent him to talk.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Isn’t it funny what will get a reluctant talk to talk?!

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