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Speech | The Nanny Godmother

Naughty Words Are a No-No at Daycare

The Nanny Godmother loves to hear from colleagues in the childcare profession who are readers of the blog.  Patty has recently written in with a dilemma that’s particularly challenging because of the professional setting in which it’s occurring:

I am a daycare provider for a set of 21 month old twin boys in addition to 4 other children. Within the past month they both started using foul language. I simply ignored it the first week, although some of the older children were quick to point it out to me each time they heard it.  During the second week when it occurred, I got down at their level and firmly said “No. We don’t use that word. That is not ok.”  The third week, I repeated the steps from week 2, but then put them in time out. They don’t seem to be fazed by it at all and they seem to be swearing more each day.  Mom is really no help and simply blames it on Dad.

Any suggestions that I can use as a licensed provider? (When this occurred with my own children, step three included a swat on the rear end which put a pretty quick end to foul language, but as a licensed provider I am not able to use corporal punishment.)  Thank you!

Hi Patty,

Unfortunately, as you know, we childcare professionals are limited in what we can do if we don’t have the support of the parents.

However, I do think you should talk to the mum again and explain what a big problem it is, and that you don’t want other parents to start complaining.

As long as you’re not receiving parental support, your options are going to be somewhat limited, and the best thing I can think of for you to do is to concentrate on teaching the twins that such language is not accepted by you. Try not to make too much of it when they say the words, as although I doubt they understand the meaning, they do understand that it upsets you.  Don’t even make eye contact, as they are probably just waiting for you to react.  Just take them by the hand and say “You know that Patty doesn’t accept those words” in a very low, calm voice.  Don’t interact with them any more than that, and put them in time out (away from each other, if they’re both in time out).  When time out is finished, make them look you in the eye and say “sorry” for using bad words, then carry on as normal.

This method may take some time to yield results, but due to their age I think it is about all you can do.

I hope this was of some help to you; if there are any readers who can give Patty more advice on this matter, please feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line.



Helping to Develop a Toddler’s Speech Skills

February 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Development, Readers' Enquiries

Attentive grandmother Toni C. is wondering how to encourage her grandson’s speech development:

I’m trying to come up with creative ways to help my grandson speak.  He was born 1.5 months early and weighed only 3.7 pounds at birth.  He does everything else great!  Fine motor skills, follows directions, even musical, loves to dance but he just makes non syllable words.  He will be 2 years old in May, and will sometimes say “hi” or “out” to the dog, but that’s as far as it goes.  Before taking him to expensive therapy, any ideas?


It sometimes happens that even children that are born full-term don’t utter their first words until they are two to three years old, without necessarily indicating any underlying problem.

Interactive reading is a great way to encourage a toddler’s speech.  I find that books with animals work especially well, but any kind of reading at all is helpful.

Also try singing nursery rhymes and children’s songs (e.g. “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”, “The Wheels on the Bus”, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, and many more).  Dancing and singing make it fun quality time and are also beneficial to a child’s coordination and memory as well as speech development.

When your grandson points to things, try to encourage him to say it.  Give a choice: if he asks for juice, say “Which cup do you want, blue one or red one?”  “Please, Grandma.”  “Thank you, Grandma.”  Also ask him questions which require a yes or no answer.

I wouldn’t worry too much at this stage.  It sounds as though your grandson is developing at a very healthy rate.

Good luck!

UPDATE:  Let me clarify that this is intended to answer your question about ideas on how you can help stimulate your toddler’s speech at this stage, not to dissuade you from also consulting a specialised professional about your concerns.  As a reader has pointed out, depending on where you live such specialised services might be available on a publicly or privately subsidised basis.