Most toddlers have a few words in their vocabulary by now, but again, there is enormous range for language development. Often, the first words (outside of mama and dada) are related to their interests—truck, car, book, duck, doggie, etc. It is very important to repeat these words back to your child. Besides helping her master how to say the words, it is validating and gives her a sense of pride and accomplishment. Besides, it is so darn cute hearing toddlers speak.
Books are still one of the best ways to support language development. Again, pick out books based on your child's interests. You may learn more than you ever thought you would know about vehicles used in construction or all the exotic animals in a zoo. Children are sponges for this knowledge and enjoy practicing to say new words. She may ask you to read the same book over and over—until all of you know it by heart. Author/illustrator Eric Carle has been a favorite for children and parents alike, by combining interesting text about animals and children with wonderful, colorful collage-like illustrations.
Regardless of how many words your child has under her belt, she has amazing receptive language abilities. One fun activity for her right now is to be your little helper for tasks she can easily manage. If she wants you to read her a book, ask her to go pick it out and bring it to you. Or if your hands are full and you drop something (that is easy to hold, like a sock), ask her if she can pick it up. She will have an enormous sense of accomplishment when she sees you smile and say "thank you'" for helping her. This is wonderful for laying the foundation for positive self-esteem and self-concept—ideas of the self that are shaped from early experiences with important people, like parents.
Awareness of Self and Others
Toward the end of these three months, your toddler will be able to recognize herself and others in photos or when she gazes at her lovely image in a mirror. Photos are a wonderful way to help your toddler understand about her family, friends, and herself as a separate individual. Children love looking at pictures through photo albums that protect pictures from bending.
Photos also help children who are in childcare and separated from Mom or Dad to feel closer to their parents. It is especially supportive if they can hold the photos in their own hands. Childcare providers can talk about who is in the photo and remind the child that Mommy or Daddy always comes back. Often toddler programs and preschools encourage parents to keep photos of family members and other loved ones (let's not forget the family dog or cat) in the child's cubby.