You are here

Little Echoes

If you hear an echo after everything you say, it's probably not sleep deprivation taking its toll  -- it's your toddler.

At around age 2, when kids talk, but not in sentences, they'll often repeat a word or phrase you've just used. You say, "Let's go outside," and your little echo says, "Outside!"

Kids do this in order to connect and learn, says Stefanie Powers, a child-development specialist at Zero to Three, in Washington, DC. Echoing helps them build vocabulary, figure out how to jump from single words to sentences, and get a handle on how and when we talk to each other.

The echoing will fade in six months to a year as your child's command of language grows.

In the meantime:

Use precise words. Expand your child's vocabulary by saying "What a sunny day" instead of just "What a nice day."

Point to objects you name. This reinforces the connection between words and meanings.

Expand on the echo. If you ask, "Do you want more juice?" and he says, "More juice," say, "Okay, let's have more apple juice."

Because echoing can be a symptom of autism, talk to your pediatrician if your child doesn't seem to be trying to communicate with you.