Functional Phrases for Toddlers

These phrases may be utilized spontaneously, as well as when you see your child attempting to
request something, reach for something, stop playing with a toy, when he wants to end a specific
activity, or when eating. You want to set up communicative attempts with him; watch what he
does and make all activities into a conversation/learning experience. Try to build upon what he
is doing. For example: If you know that he needs help model the phrase “Help me.” If he wants
another cookie, say “More cookie” or “Give me cookie.” If he stops playing with a toy, tries to
walk away, or pushes away toy say “All done ball” or “Bye-bye ball.”

  1. Requesting
    • “Give me (desired object/food)”
    • “Help me”
  2. Protesting
    • “No more”
    • “No more (specific action/food/object)”
  3. Labeling
    • Name items, toys, food in his environment that he is looking at or playing with
  4. Labeling action
    • Utilize 2-word phrases to describe simple actions
    • For example: “Ball______” (in, up, out, down”
    • For example: “_ ball/car” (push, roll, bounce)
    • This may also be used during other activities (“Johnny eat”)
  5. Recurrence
    • “More (toy/action/food)”
  6. Disappearance
    • When something is taken away or he or you are done playing with or eating something
    • “All done (specific item/action)”
    • “All gone (specific item)”
    • “Bye bye (specific item)”
  7. Turn-taking
    • “My turn”
    • “Your turn”
    • “Mommy’s turn”
    • • “Johnny’s turn”