“What do you want?”
“Which one do you want?”
“I know you can say baby and ball! Now tell me which one you want!”
Telling your kiddo to “Say (enter word here)” is not super helpful. Don’t get me wrong, they are still learning when you tell them to “Say (enter word here.” But they aren’t learning how to use a new word, they are learning how to follow a command.
I see this a lot in homes. Mom will say “I don’t know why he won’t tell me when he wants milk. He knows how to say “milk.” See, watch ‘say milk.’” And of course the kid says “milk.” But ten minutes later when he wants milk, he just points and grunts. Frustrating, huh?
So this is what we need to do instead. Every time your kiddo points to something or looks at something, you say the name of it. You do not tell them to “Say milk.” You just say “milk.” When you pour milk, you say “milk.” When you put milk away, you say “milk.” When your child shows you an empty cup, you say “milk.” Do you see how this works?
And this is why it works…when we tell our kiddo to “Say —“ they think they are doing a trick (for a lack of better words.) And like all good tricks, they only are done on command. They are performed. And so they think those words you are telling them to say are only said when they are being told. It never carries over. They just keep on saying those words when they are told. Because our kiddos are good listeners and rule obeyers. Right?