A strong vocabulary fosters communication, understanding and a better reading ability. This begins when parents teach their children, especially toddlers new words. There are simple activities that help children expand their vocabulary, and improve their speech.
Adult Words Can Help Toddlers Learn
While it is important a child understands what is being said, using some words a child does not understand is important. These should be words commonly used in adult conversations. Encourage the child to ask questions, so you have the opportunity to explain. As these words are used, the child will start to understand them.
Another way to improve toddler speech is to take turns telling nightly stories. This will help expand your child’s vocabulary and reading skill as well. Simply put away the book, and ask your child to tell you a story. You can provide a setting, and a problem for the characters to solve.
Let your child’s imagination take over, and ask questions. This is an excellent way to introduce new concepts and words. A good example is if your child say the island was hot. You can ask if this is a tropical island. Once a word has been used, continue using the word in future conversations.
Regular Conversations are Beneficial to Toddlers
Having regular conversations with your child will improve both their speech and vocabulary. For a baby or toddler, simply talk about the daily activities, and let them contribute whenever possible. Tell them you are putting a cake in the oven, or going to work.
A child will absorb everything that is being said. The more they hear, the more they learn. As your child gets older, encourage them to talk more. This will allow them to practice the vocabulary they are learning.
Word Games are Wonderful for Toddlers
There are numerous word games made for children. There is Apples to Apples, Hangman and Boggle for starters. You can have a lot of fun with your child playing these games, and they will learn some new words. You can play word games to make a car ride smoother by asking your child to name the colors of the cars they see. This is an excellent way to teach different names for the same color such as topaz, blue and sapphire.
Household items can be easily labeled with a post-it note. This is an incredible way to introduce new words to your child. Younger children will have an easier time relating to the word because they will understand the meaning.
Talk to your child about each item, and teach them how to pronounce the word. This can be accomplished with lamps, beds, salt and pepper shakers and clocks. Any item your child has an interaction with is a good choice.
Speech and Vocabulary
To help your child improve their language skills, you must take a proactive role. Listen to their vocabulary questions, and teach them the right pronunciation and definition for each word they question. Make the definitions as simple as possible, but give examples and details.
An excellent example is if your child asks what gigantic means. Do not just say big, but give them a comparison. You can tell them when compared to a person an elephant is big, but when compared to an ant it is gigantic.
Children are going to misuse and mispronounce new words. It is incredibly important not to reprimand them when they make a mistake. Explain you are delighted they are using a new word, and tell them what they did right. Then explain the right way to pronounce or use the word. When you make the experience positive and fun, your child’s interest will expand along with their vocabulary.
Meanings and words may need to be repeated numerous times before your child understands the concept. This is completely normal, and not a reason to stress. If your child’s vocabulary eventually exceeds yours, this only proves you did a good job as a parent.
Every child will learn at their own pace. The important thing is to remember to be patient, and balance their needs. Negative associations and stress will make it much harder for your child to get ahead.