Talking to your child is the first step in helping them to develop their vocabulary. Not all parents are chatty though! If you are not a naturally talkative person, try your best to converse with your child throughout the day in as natural a way as possible. This means pointing things out as you pass them on a walk, singing songs, telling them about the plans for the day. You don’t have to oversimplify your language either – babies or toddlers are capable of understanding a lot more than some people give them credit for.
Read, read, read and then read some more
Reading books with your child is invaluable. You’ve probably heard all about how powerful it is as a tool to develop vocabulary but if you’re not already reading at least one book to your child a day, now’s the time to begin!
Babies and toddlers adore books. They love to sit next to their parent and be the centre of attention.
If you can, visit the library with your child. Help them to choose their own books. When they have a say in what they’ll be reading, they’re often a lot more passionate about it!
The fact that a child is small does not mean that they cannot understand and learn new words. All children develop at their own rates but once they begin preschool, they will need a good vocabulary to understand the material they will come across as they learn and grow. Helping their caregivers to look after them properly is another reason you should encourage your child’s development in this area. It’s much easier for children to settle at preschool when they can make their thoughts and feelings understood by those around them.
Should I correct my child if they say words incorrectly?
Yes. But not in a stern way. You should model the correct usage of the word. You can do this simply by repeating their sentence back at them as follows.
If your child asks for something and says, “My want a biscuit” you can model the correct sentence by saying “You want a biscuit?”
The me, I and you will iron themselves out as your child grows – don’t get bogged down in explanations, simply model the correct language, and avoid baby words! Your child will grow in confidence as their vocabulary improves and when they are ready for preschool, they’ll have fewer issues settling down.
Older children and vocabulary
There’s nothing more valuable to older children than conversation and reading. Both of these things will improve vocabulary endlessly and if you can, you should regularly engage your child in conversation.
Discuss things in which they are interested so that you can help them grasp new words through a subject they care about. This will be much more effective than asking them to talk about things for which they have no interest. Schools which have plenty of extracurricular clubs on offer such as this senior school in Cambridge are great for helping children to learn to speak clearly and articulately on a variety of subjects.