Friday, 24 January 2020

Ways to Improve Your Toddler’s Vocabulary

A lot of the tantrums arise from the fact that toddlers have emotions that they can’t express with words. So, helping your child grasp new words and make himself understood is truly important. It can help create connections and it will definitely make your lives easier. That’s why I thought it’s good to talk about about a few ways to improve your one-year-old’s vocabulary (these ideas work well for older kids, too).

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when talking about vocabulary is books. My daughter absolutely loves nonfiction lift-the-flap books with realistic pictures. If they’re about farm animals or vehicles, it’s even better. I suggest choosing books with realistic pictures, because then children will learn what the object/being represented actually looks like. And for very young children, the fewer details and pictures on a page, the better. Try to find books that are related to your child’s interests and to everyday routines; that way, you’ll be able to teach vocabulary that your child will hear in different contexts too.

I’m also a big fan of teaching a language through songs and rhymes. Children of all ages enjoy a funny rhyme, or a song sung in a silly voice. I also invent songs describing what we are doing together and about daily routines (brushing teeth, changing a diaper, getting dressed, washing hands). The trick is to use a well-known tune, so you don’t forget it. My daughter enjoys doing the actions in songs and she has favourite songs that she asks to sing by doing the gestures.

Basic vocabulary is built by using a set of words daily, until your child has grasped the concepts and is able to understand the words in other contexts too. That’s why it’s important to communicate to your child what you are doing or what is happening. Objects that she uses daily are more important for her and she needs to learn them early on.

Introducing some basic sign language also helps your child make herself understood. I warmly recommend Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk by Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., and Susan Goodwyn, Ph.D. I started introducing some signs when E. was six months old and I hope it will help her when she starts daycare in a different language than the one that we speak at home.

I’m a teacher that’s nuts about laminators and label makers…so of course I made posters and flashcards for E. to play with. We have some posters of animals, body parts, and feelings, that go with certain songs (If You’re Happy, Happy, Happy, Old MacDonald, Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, etc.). E. also enjoys playing with realistic animals from Schleich, so I made flashcards for her to match. She still needs help; I usually take the flashcard, name the animal, and then she puts the toy animal on top of the flashcard. Later on, I will introduce pictures that look different from her toys and we’ll also match the animals to the same animals in books.

How do you help your child learn new words?

If you liked this post, you might also be interested in reading:
How to Make a Song Bag for Endless Hours of Fun
Word Twister
Song and Game with Sea Animals

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