How to expand your child’s vocabulary

Learning how to speak opens up another window of opportunity for children to express themselves. Many parents and people around the early-speakers will attest of the moments they’ve stood dumbstruck as they try to decipher what it is exactly that their new speaker is trying to tell them or the laughter that ensues when they finally realise that said young speaker has in fact decided to create their own word.

Unfortunately there comes a time when the young speaker needs to start using words that you and I use and step into the world of developed speech. This post hopes to de-mystify the topic of vocabulary expansion and offer some handy tips which are laid out below;

Try 5 minutes of free-writing every day.

Give your child a pencil (or pen if they’ve received their licence) and allow them to write non-stop for 5 minutes. Once they are done go through what they have written and show them which words are real and which words are their own creation. You may even inadvertently find out some words that you weren’t aware that they know, in this case you can use that opportunity to have them use the word in one or two sentences to cement it in their memory.

Spend 10 minutes reading out loud every night.

Allow your child to read aloud to you for about 10 minutes every night from their favourite book. By doing this you will familiarise them with the spelling and appearance of words that they have hear read to them before, will increase their vocabulary as they question the meaning of various words and you will help them gain the confidence necessary for public speaking.

Help them create their own stories.

Spend time asking your children to create their own stories. They can be written or spoken, you will find that while they create these stories they may struggle to find the words to express themselves well. By helping them fill in the blanks in their story you will also be expanding their vocabulary and maybe helping the world’s next great author or poet get their start in the world of writing.

Have a word of the day.

You can compile a list of age-appropriate words that your child doesn’t know yet and at the beginning of each day you introduce it to your child, tell them the meaning of the word and show them how to use it in a sentence. You can reward them for every time they use the word correctly that day or create a friendly competition between you and your child to see who can use the word the most.

Speak to children the same way you would an adult

By this I don’t mean you have to discuss the same things that you would discuss with an adult. I just mean that instead of using “cute” words or baby talk you can address your children in full sentences and even throw in the odd complex word here and there. You would be surprised by how quickly your child catches on!

Expanding your child’s vocabulary doesn’t have to be a chore or something to keep you up at night. You just have to remember that your little sponge is listening to everything you say so they might already have quite an advanced vocabulary, sometimes they just need a bit of help tapping into that vault in their mind. Soon enough they’ll be teaching you a word or two

What have you done to expand your child’s vocabulary? Leave a comment on this post with your answer.

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