When you stretch out conversations with your toddler, you give your child an opportunity to connect his or her inner thoughts with the outside world. It’s really simple to stretch out the chatter when you take time to talk about everything under the sun.

Conversation starters can be centered around anything you might be doing with your toddler in a day. For example, if you brush your teeth with your toddler, start a conversation about the pros and cons of brushing teeth up and down, back to front, fast or slow. Or how about running errands in the car? Observations can be made to start a conversation about the fire engine roaring by or the beautiful pond with frogs and water lilies. And what about conversations at bath time? Bath time is a good time to dialogue about friends or school or what happened at daycare.

As you interact with your child during the day, your child can practice building bridges between his or her ideas and yours. Each interaction offers an opportunity for your child to exercise his or her logic as you both discuss real-life situations. As long as you are having fun with your conversations, you won’t sound like you are giving a lecture or trying to take control. Just give your child the time needed to think about and create a meaningful response with questions of his or her own.

How nice to know that all of the little “chats” you have with your child are teachable moments about how to build coherent thoughts. Stretching out conversations develops your child’s ability to think logically, which is a real boost to intellectual, social, and moral development. Keep talking!