Encouraging Language: Focus on Power Words
When you're trying to encourage your young one to start saying more words, try focusing on 2-3 specific words for a while. Good words to use would be 'power words'. I've also heard them referred to as 'stereotypical phrases.' These are words that can stand alone yet still give a clear meaning. They are used often throughout the day and they are very functional. There is often a clear action or gesture associated with them as well. Some examples include: Bye, Go, More, Uh-Oh, or Hi. Pick one or two of these and then look for ways to fit them in naturally throughout the day.
One of my favorites is "Go!" You can make it very exciting by adding suspense before doing anything fun by counting to three, then saying, "Go!" For example, when playing with a car, you say "One, Two, Three.......GO!" Then push it across the floor. You can do it while making lunch. You need to pour in the milk? "One, Two, Three,.....GO!" After you do this a few times, pause for a second before you say "Go!" and then see how your child reacts. He might lean forward, or bounce, or reach his hand forward. He might even say "O" which is terrific! Keep bombarding your child with these words in natural contexts, and they'll start to pick up on it in no time!