From the time our tiny tot can talk, parents want to hear her say lots of fancy words. After all, what’s cuter than seeing a three-year-old spout out the word exquisite or subterfuge (I’m still trying to figure out what that one means)?
Along with the desire to make our child a little Einstein, often parents can get a bit overzealous (another great word to teach her). There are dads who read the dictionary to their daughters at bedtime and moms who carry tons of flash cards in their purses. All with the best intentions and high hopes that their toddler will utter something truly magnificent.
But let’s be realistic, flash cards and dictionaries don’t cut it when it comes to having fun with your child. Thankfully, there are more entertaining things you can do to increase her vocabulary and encourage learning. And, who knows, by practicing some of these techniques, maybe she will be saying “superfluous” sooner than you think!
Tips to Get Her Talking:
- Talk and communicate with her from birth. It’s amazing how much babies absorb from just hearing the sound of their parents voice. Talk to your infant as much as you can. Even simple things like explaining to her what’s on your grocery list as you browse the aisles or asking her what she would like to play, can encourage her to increase her interactions and words.
- Grab a book together. There is perhaps nothing more important than reading to your child at anytime, at any place, and at any age. Not only does it help develop her vocabulary, but it also strengthens the bond between you both. Experts agree that reading to your child at least 15 minutes every day is one of the best gifts you will ever give her.
- Listen to what she says. When your daughter murmers her first words you may find it difficult to understand what she is saying. So listen carefully and correct her gently when she pronounces a word incorrectly. This will help her learn the correct way to sound-out and speak words.
- Limit TV time. TV can be an asset when there are educational shows on like Sesame Street that teach and encourage children to be creative. But television should not be used as your child’s sole form of entertainment. No one can interact with your child like you can. The more your little girl interacts with her parents and others, the better her vocabulary will become.
- Encourage lots of interactive games. Imaginary games are wonderful for tapping into her imagination and encouraging her to speak. Toddlers love to play pretend – so join in and sneak in some fun vocabulary words as you sip tea or play Barbies with her.
- Introduce a new language. Children can learn languages easier when they are young. This will encourage a variety of ‘new’ vocabulary words and also give her a lifelong skill.
- Set a positive example for your child. Let her know that learning new words is fun. Make it into a game – learn a “Word of the Day” along with your child every day (and you can pull out the dictionary for this one!). Write it on an index card and post it on the fridge. Your toddler can even decorate the card. Every time you go to get something out of the fridge, repeat the word and it’s meaning. You’ll both learn something new!