Grandparents Teach, too


“If my parents had done these things with me, I probably wouldn’t be in this place. This stuff is fun and easy. I’m going to read to my grandkids and show my daughter.” — Person at the Marquette County Detention Center GTT training sessions, 2014.

Between ages 12-18 months your child will probably say a few words and understand sometimes what you say if you speak in a normal voice and short sentences.

There are many ways to interact with your 12 -18 month old in a way that will help develop language. It is a stage of giving them words for what they are doing and carrying on the strangest conversations. You can often pretend to understand, repeat what you think they are talking about, and question.

By this time most babies have good balance while sitting. They will enjoy hitting various sizes of pots and pans or cardboard boxes. You can turn on music and sing with the beat. Pound fast, slowly, loudly and softly. Experiment. Will they copy you? Talk and listen to them talk back to you with partial words or their own words.

At the sink

Children 12-18 months may stand on a chair by the sink with a guard chairs on each side. Make the water warm and add a few drops of gentle dish soap. Supply some plastic dishes for them to wash and show how to clean with a new little sponge. Remind them not to put bubbles in their mouth. If they do, they will learn a lesson, too. Provide towels on the floor and a plastic bib. Explain what they are doing with words, phrases and complete sentences. Use the correct words without baby talk. Otherwise, they will need to unlearn baby talk later. Avoid saying, “Let ME help you.” Instead say, “I will help you.” They will learn that “I” begins sentences.


The 12-18 month old loves to squish and splat while you chat, question together and provide words for actions. Place different textures on their high chair tray like gelatin, spaghetti, jelly colored water, or mashed potatoes. They will joyfully do their own brand of talking with you before bath time.

Peek, seek, sleep

Fill a pillowcase with items from around the house and discuss what they find. Hide items under, on top, beside and behind pillows to help them solve problems with you. Ask “Where is Teddy?” Then model searching and thinking out loud together. Teddy is also a useful model to put to sleep, groom and feed, chatting all the while.

Read often

Even looking through a book, talking about characters, and telling the story in your own words is reading. You are developing language and getting ready for the next stage. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com ;wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons; Pinterest, and Facebook.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the U.P. Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today