Building your child’s vocabulary comes bit by bit. Too much too soon can be overwhelming and counterproductive. But it is important to help children broaden their vocabulary from an early start so they can keep at it as they develop.
One easy yet effective way to increase their vocabulary is by working in new words every chance you get. If you make the process part of the everyday, it won’t seem like you’re trying to obviously teach your children something new, which could lead to lack of cooperation if they’re not in the mood for “learning.” Be easy-breezy about it and before long, your children will be using these new words in their conversations.
It doesn’t take much effort to keep using the same words over and over again, but once kids are able to articulate in more ways than one, it’s important for parents to give them the tools and knowledge to expand and enhance their vocabulary. Start with using new words for things they already have a word for. Perhaps your child calls everything he drinks from a “cup.” We know there are lots of different drinking vessels with names other than cup. Point out when he’s drinking from a glass, a mug, a water bottle, etc. These alternatives give your child new ways to express himself.
Another way to work in new words is to teach your child brand new vocabulary for actions or behaviors. For example, instead of saying “Stop,” you can say, “Please refrain from doing that.” Rather than saying “Let’s go,” you can say, “It’s time to depart,” or “We’re leaving.” Little changes may not seem significant to you, but for a developing mind, these small new additions make a difference.
When you use words your child has never heard before, explain what they mean. Maybe you’re discussing your new sofa with a friend, but your child only knows the word “couch.” Even while watching television, if the topic is new to your child, explain the scenario and the words used that she’s never heard before. Remind her of the word later that day or the next day so you help her remember it.
When it’s time to read bedtime stories at night, as your child grows, select books with words he’s not familiar with. Learning while being entertained is a great tool for your child to be receptive to hearing and retaining the information.
How to you incorporate new words into your child’s vocabulary? We’d love to share your tips with the AMC community.
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By: Melissa A. Kay