Children should start working on their vocabulary as soon as they can. A child will use the words his or her parents use most often – the more they hear it, the more familiar they will become with it and the more they will use it themselves. It’s important to improve a child’s vocabulary as they grow – the more they learn, the more they will use it when they are older. And, if that means that parents need to improve on their own vocabulary, so be it. The only way children will learn new words, phrases and the meaning thereof is to be continually exposed to them.
It is important to expose a child to difficult or rare words, so they can hear them being used in context and know what they mean as well. There’s no use in teaching a child new words when they do not know where and when the words should be used. Reading is extremely effective in improving vocabulary. But so is listening to words being read or used in a conversation.
The richer and more abundant the language they hear daily, the more developed their own language will become. Even if it sounds silly teaching a child to use the word “inevitably” – it might sound silly now, but parents are actually helping their future – an expanded vocabulary will make school and later even finding a job a little easier.
Tips on expanding the range
In addition to talking to a child to improve their vocabulary, there are fun ways of making learning new words easy. Here, are some ideas:
Put on a Movie
Children love watching TV, especially cartoons and animations. Cartoons might not be the best programs to show to a child to help improve their vocab; animated children’s movies and educational TV shows are a much better option. Parents can keep their children busy while educating them at the same time.
Read Out Loud
Children love hearing stories. Parents should find educational reading books and read out loud to their kids whenever they get a chance. Their child will be entertained while learning some new words to add to their vocabulary. Parents should encourage their children to ask questions when they do not understand something. Parents can also ask them random questions about words in the book, like what a word means or how to make a sentence using the word.
Show and Tell
Who does not love show and tell? Children respond well to linking pictures and words together when learning. Some children learn more easily with photos or pictures than with words. Flashcards or pinning names in objects to describe them may help a child remember what it is called or how they can describe it.
Talk, Talk, Talk
As mentioned above, merely talking to a child can greatly increase their vocabulary. Parents should not speak to children in baby voices or baby-talk. The more words they hear, the better their vocabulary will be. Parents should also try use a wide variety of words. For example when describing something positive, they should use more descriptive words than just ‘nice’ or ‘great’.
Problems in Communicating
Some children might experience some problems with communicating effectively at first. They usually do grow out of these problems or irregularities, but if the problems persist when they reach the age of 5, they should be taken for examination. Some of the most common communication problems include hearing difficulties and problems following complex directions – difficulty with conversational interaction; poor vocabulary acquisition; difficulty learning preschool concepts such as colours and counting; stuttering; difficulty with grammar and syntax; and unclear speech are other difficulties children may experience early in life.
Children’s minds are like sponges: most pre-schoolers know all the names of dinosaurs that most adults cannot even pronounce. A child’s mind is extremely active, and they want to learn. They just need to be given the opportunity to learn and develop.