Image source: everydayfamilies.com
Remember how proud you were the day your baby uttered her/his first word? Well, by the time s/he is about a year old, your baby can understand many words, but can speak only a few. Enter toddlerhood and your little one will have a “word spurt”, with new words tumbling out every day. While each child has her/his own language development timeline, there are ways in which you can step in to help your tiny tot become a better communicator.
Here are some remarkably simple ways to help your little chatterbox improve her/his vocabulary…
Encourage the storyteller
After you read a favourite book together, encourage your child to bring out the little storyteller in them! It could be the story from the book you just read, any another familiar tale or her/his own story. Do not correct or interrupt her/him. Instead, listen, nod your head, widen your eyes and act appreciative. Say things like, “Is that so?”, “wow!” or “hmm, interesting.” After the story is done, you could correct the erroneous sentences by just repeating them correctly. Simple!
Describe the scene
Talk in detail about each place you visit together and include sensory experiences in your narrative. For example, if you visit the beach, don’t just stop with pointing and labeling the sand or the sea and the waves; give plenty of information. For example say, “That’s the sand - it’s rough, grainy and golden. The sand is home to shells and crabs. Why don’t you touch the sand? Does it feel ticklish?” As your toddler grows, ask him to join you as you explore.
Act it out
Roleplaying is a great way to improve your child’s vocabulary. Just act out scenes from a story or bring out the pretend play toys. Let loose the drama queen in you and mouth the dialogues loud and clear. Your angel is sure to follow suit and add his/her own two bits with glee!
Mommy doesn’t remember
This one will be your toddler’s favourite. Begin a sentence then pretend you forgot a word. Like, at mealtime, get your munchkin’s dinner plate, then say, “Here’s your dinner. Oops, mommy forgot that little metal object that helps you pick up the food and put it in your mouth! What’s that called now?” Your tot will remind you, “spoon!” This works well as it makes kids feel that they are smarter than mommy!
Handing the right tools
Books, educational videos, apps and toys can be amazing vocabulary boosters. Set daily screen time limits and include plenty of age appropriate books in your toddler’s daily activity schedule. Choose books with short sentences, clear font and colorful pictures. Apps such as Endless Alphabet are a great hit with toddlers. You don’t need to buy new ones often, just recycle them after a gap to maintain interest.
Remember to have fun as you converse with your little one and form a special bond with her/him as you take on this ‘wordy’ journey.