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Ready, set, TALK!!!

3 simple words that can help your little one take those first steps into the world of talking. It’s perfect for kids around 1 year of age who have just started talking or are close to using some words. It’s also great for those late talkers who understand lots of things you say but just haven’t quite got past using babble yet. The beauty of these three little words is that they can be used in almost any situation, but are most effective when the “go” is followed by something very fun and exciting.

This fun and exciting thing might be blowing a huge stream of bubbles for your youngster to pop, tossing them up in the air, pushing them on a swing, having a race with toy cars, rolling a ball, sending them down a slide, pushing over a tower of blocks, chasing them around the room – anything where you build up their anticipation.

How to use the magic words

Find something your child loves that involves you both – ideally something that requires a degree of adult support, such as the games mentioned above. Before the fun begins, build up the excitement by saying “Ready…. Set……. GO!!!”, then blow those bubbles or throw them up in the air straight away. Don’t forget to use facial expressions, eye contact, and suspenseful intonation to build the drama.

Like anything, consistency is key. You might need to repeat these words lots of times during lots of different activities before your child is ready to say them for themselves. Don’t expect them to start talking straight away. Just keep it fun and positive, then every so often, pause a little bit before saying “Go”. Build up the anticipation as before by saying “Ready….. Set……” then try looking at them expectantly with a big smile on your face for just a little longer than before, perhaps forming the “g” sound for “Go” with your mouth but not actually saying it yet. Your little one might just fill the word in for you. If not, that’s fine! Just say “go” and carry on with the activity. If they do say it, reinforce this with smiles and by saying “Go!” back to them enthusiastically. Then carry on with the activity straight away so you show that their word made something happen.

These 3 simple words work so well because by this age, children have become very good at anticipating things, such as knowing that when they see their bottle going in the microwave it means they’re about to get a drink. If you use these words over and over during games, your toddler will learn that it means something fun is about to happen. By gradually encouraging your child to say the word “Go!”, you show them that they can have control over their world by using language. That is, they learn that by saying this word they can make something fun happen! They’ll then be that much more ready to start learning other words as well!

The other benefit of course is that it helps teach your little one about waiting for things. And that can’t be a bad thing can it?! So what are you waiting for? Ready….. Set……????


Erin Wilkins is the founder of SmallTalk Speech & Language Therapy. Erin is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist and a member of Speech Pathology Australia. Since gaining her Master of Speech and Language Pathology Erin has gained extensive experience working with children in a variety of settings within Sydney, rural NSW, and in the UK. She is passionate about empowering parents with the skills to support their child in becoming successful communicators.


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