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How can I get my 20-month-old to say words instead of whining and pointing?

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How can I get my 20-month-old son to say what he wants instead of whining and pointing? For example, he says "wahwah" for anything to drink. Usually it means milk -- if we give him juice or water he throws a fit. He knows the difference. But he won't say milk, juice, or water even if he knows the word. How can we encourage him?


The key word here is "patience." And since your toddler, like all toddlers, has very little of it, you'll have to have enough for both of you! Your son is learning a tremendous amount about language -- not just English, but the nature and purpose of language itself. It's not surprising that he doesn't always remember a word, even if it "knows" it.You'll find that if you stay calm, your son is likely to stay calm, too. If he says wahwah and wants milk, simply say something like, "Oh, you want milk! This is good milk. You like milk, don't you?" By saying the word a few times like that, you'll help him remember it.  

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