As your child grows up, your sassy threenager suddenly has a huge repertoire of words and something to say about everything. And by the time your child hits her pre-primary years, the rest is history.
While your chatty little boss may leave you tearing your hair out at times, (we’ve all been there) her rapidly increasing vocabulary is a positive sign. And now more than ever, a child’s competency in communication is of paramount importance. Being a confident and articulate speaker makes all the difference in the opportunities that will come your child’s way, be it in school or in their future.
5 Reasons Vocabulary Benefits Your Child
The Power of Communication. The wider her vocabulary, the more explicit your child will be at communicating her needs and wants. Through the power of words, she will be able to share her ideas and opinions.
The Ability to Understand. Vocabulary is the most fundamental unit of comprehension. So when your child’s vocabulary is limited, it causes gaps in her understanding of what she reads or hears.
Logic. The wider your child’s vocabulary is, the higher the chances she will be able to interpret and express ideas and concepts.
Persuasive Power. A rich vocabulary is tied to being a more persuasive and engaging speaker. Imagine giving your child this power!1
It’s All About Impressions. An eloquent speaker forms a lasting impression. There’s no denying that fact.
Now that you know what to expect, here are some activities for you to build your child’s vocabulary.
How to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary
Read, Read and Read
This is a given, and it is almost impossible to overemphasise its importance. Expose your child to plenty of reading materials. The more she reads, the wider her vocabulary will be. Read with her as well, and encourage her to pay attention to new or unfamiliar words.
Engage in sensory play such as playing in a sandbox, making dough, exploring the texture and so on. As you engage in the play, you and your child can describe what you see, feel, hear, taste and smell5 and you’ll be amazed at how rapidly your child adds sensory words to her vocabulary!
A little bit of adventure is good for everyone, so take your child out to explore nature. Take them to beaches, parks, rivers, wherever you please. Talk about everything you see, hear and experience. Your child will be excited and have lots to say. Extend this activity by following up your little outing with a book that is related to it.
Make dinnertime more meaningful by making it a vocabulary building time as well. For starters, you can ask your child questions about her day. Ask her to tell you who she played with, what she had for lunch, what her teacher wore, what books she read at the library and so on. As she describes her day, you can use descriptive words and phrases to substitute the simpler ones that she uses. In no time, she will be repeating after you!
After you’ve established a reading routine, every now and then, put the book down and ask your child to either retell the story in her own words or to create her own story altogether. Along the way, ask questions to introduce new words and concepts. When you force her to articulate her ideas, it works wonders in reaching for new words!
Along with engaging your child in these activities, it’s also important that you ensure she has sufficient rest and good nutrition.
So go all out and help your children to build a solid vocabulary. It’s one of the best gifts you can give them!