"Imitate the sounds and words that they are saying, expand on their ideas and model simple sentences for them," she says. "Toddlers love physical play, lots of action -- peek-a-boo, silly faces and things falling down. They also love lots of repetition and over acting."

Schraner-Klinenberg says that DVDs and tapes are valuable tools and books are her favorite "but there is no substitute for interactions with a real person."

"Most importantly children need to be held and talked to. Communication is a multi-sensory experience and watching a screen will never have the same impact as a real person in a real-life situation," she says.