Ask a Speech Therapist! How do I get my child to use pronouns?

Through the power that is social media, we’ve gathered all of our most asked questions from providers, parents, teachers, and all other professionals and put our speech therapist, Nicole, to work. We’ll feature a question each week this month to help answer some of your hard hitting speech and language questions!

Q: She keeps saying her name and isn’t using pronouns, how do we encourage the use of pronouns?

The best way to teach pronouns is by modeling them yourself. As children grow, families typically find themselves referring to one another in the third person “mama’s turn”, “give it to daddy”. Because children imitate what they hear, being aware of how you are referring to one another and yourself in your own speech is step one! Step two is to give some options using pronouns (e.g. who’s turn is it? is it MY turn, or YOUR turn?). Your kiddo may have a hard time figuring out that pronouns change depending on who is speaking, so step two is to use a gesture! When you’re asking whose turn it is, go ahead and point at the person you’re referring to. Step three would be to start using pronouns during shared book reading time. You can talk about what you see and refer to the animals/people with pronouns (e.g. a group of squirrels - “Look at them, they are climbing the tree. I hope they don’t fall down!).

If you have any questions of your own, feel free to email us at and we will do our best to get them answered! Peruse our blog posts to learn more about hearing health, toddler development, school aged language, adult voice and more. As always, feel free to call or email to schedule an evaluation with our wonderful Speech or Audiology Team!


Jody Vaynshtok

Jody is a California-licensed speech language pathologist with eight years of industry and clinical experience. She has worked with both adult and pediatric populations during her time at private practice, birth-to-three, and hospital facilities. She is experienced in the assessment and treatment of a variety of communication and cognitive disorders. In addition, Jody has a passion for working with adults looking to achieve clearer communication. Jody received her BS in Speech and Hearing Sciences and MS in Medical Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Washington. She was a part of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford’s cleft and craniofacial clinic participating in the multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of children born with craniofacial abnormalities. She holds a staff position at UCSF and is the lead speech language pathologist for the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Hearing Loss Clinic. When she's not busy having fun with her clients Jody enjoys spending time with her husband, Anton, friends and family. And if she's not headed out somewhere fun for dinner, you might find her at Bar Method working out!