How your toddler communicates with you

Look at your toddler's body language


Your toddler might be talking by now, but there are also other ways you can communicate with her. Watching her body and facial expressions can give an insight into her feelings. Body language expert Robert Phipps says it’s important to look at your child’s body angle when you’re sitting or relating to her.


‘Sitting face on is confrontational, so try sitting at a slight angle,’ he says. ‘Also for this age group try sitting to the left of her, looking in her left eye. This relates to the right, creative side of the brain.’

Children don’t necessarily have to be smiling to show contentment – if her eyes are wide or she flaps her arms she may be excited. But if she slaps her face, this could indicate tension.

Robert adds, ‘Toddlers learn most of what they know from you, so be careful what you do in front of them.’

What amuses your child? And how does his sense of humour develop?

12 months

Enjoys visual or slapstick humour. People making deliberate mistakes makes young children laugh. ‘Things that are clearly wrong, like Mum putting the potty on her head,’ says developmental psychologist Dr Vasu Reddy. ‘And when he laughs at this age, he really lets himself go.’

18 months

Verbal humour comes into play. ‘He might misname objects for fun or put jigsaw pieces in the wrong places on purpose,’ says Dr Reddy. ‘He does this because he’s learned that laughter is pleasurable and other people will want to join in.’


2 years+

Humour becomes sophisticated. He’ll observe what people find funny and use his wit to make you and other grown-ups laugh, so try to encourage him and look amused.’

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