Vocabulary is important for communicating and learning. Several studies have proven that vocabulary plays a huge part in how well we do in school and in our careers. Not knowing certain words can not only impede our ability to learn and understand new information but our ability to convey information to other people.
It’s therefore important to encourage your children’s vocabulary from a young age. From day one you can begin building their repertoire of words by simply talking to them. Our children are always listening no matter what age they are and will eventually be eager to repeat every word we say!
Below are some helpful suggestions to encourage your children’s vocabulary and set them up for long-term success and personal growth:
Make Bedtime Stories Routine
Reading age-appropriate stories at bedtime not only makes for a great bonding experience but offers an excellent way for your children to learn new words. From day one, children develop their speech by hearing different sounds within each word spoken. As they develop, they can help read and learn how to spell while developing their language skills.
Introduce Music Early
Music offers a positive way to increase vocabulary by captivating your children through catchy rhymes and melodies. Introducing songs that teach body parts (i.e. Head and Shoulders), different animals (i.e. Old MacDonald) and lessons (i.e. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed) help children retain words as well as the meaning behind them.
Turn Language into a Game
Learning new words shouldn’t be a chore. Make it fun and interesting for your children by turning it into a game. Here are some language development game suggestions:
- Introduce a new “word of the day” each morning and challenge your kids to use it, in the right context, as much as they can that day.
- Play question and answer games to teach your kids new words, synonyms and antonyms by asking them, “what is the opposite of (insert word)?” or “what word starts with the letter B?”.
- Play the guessing game. Tell your kids you are thinking of a word that starts with “tr” and have them guess what word that is.
Have a Conversation
Engage your children in everyday conversations, whether it’s discussing how their day was at school or pointing out words when you’re out at the grocery store, mall or while watching a movie. A simple conversation is an excellent way to encourage vocabulary without your kids even knowing it!
Choose Language-Enhancing Toys
Choose toys that enhance your children’s language skills. Toys such as letter blocks or picture puzzles are excellent for teaching new words on an active level. Teach them what word or letter each block or puzzle piece is before putting it in the right place. Flash cards are also great for providing your children with visuals of the words or letters they are learning.
By encouraging their vocabulary, you are helping your children develop the lifelong valuable skills they need to succeed in school, in their future careers and in their personal relationships.