A powerful vocabulary is a sign of your child’s development. Find out how you can fuel his vocabulary and launch his development into the new heights.

 

As your child grows up, your sassy threenager suddenly has a huge repertoire of words and something to say about everything. And by the time your child hits her pre-primary years, the rest is history.

While your chatty little boss may leave you tearing your hair out at times, (we’ve all been there) her rapidly increasing vocabulary is a positive sign. And now more than ever, a child’s competency in communication is of paramount importance. Being a confident and articulate speaker makes all the difference in the opportunities that will come your child’s way, be it in school or in their future.

5 Reasons Vocabulary Benefits Your Child

1. The Power of Communication
The wider her vocabulary, the more explicit your child will be at communicating her needs and wants. Through the power of words, she will be able to share her ideas and opinions.

2. The Ability to Understand
Vocabulary is the most fundamental unit of comprehension. So when your child’s vocabulary is limited, it causes gaps in her understanding of what she reads or hears.

3. Logic
The wider your child’s vocabulary is, the higher the chances she will be able to interpret and express ideas and concepts.

4. Persuasive Power
A rich vocabulary is tied to being a more persuasive and engaging speaker. Imagine giving your child this power!1

5. It’s All About Impressions
An eloquent speaker forms a lasting impression. There’ s no denying that fact.

Vocabulary development is not magic. And it doesn’t happen overnight. But before we discuss some tips to help you build your child’s vocabulary, here’s what you should be expecting from the age of one to six.

One-Year-Old: Mama, Dada!
Most children speak their first words shortly after turning 1.2 They usually start with simple words such as “mama” or “dada” to name people, or objects.

Toddlers have barely 10 words when they are one year old, to about 50 words when they are between 18 and 24 months. Children tend to experience a “word spurt” after their first 50 word.2 By this time, they are also able to understand and follow simple directions, name familiar objects and body parts. They may also form two to three-word sentences like “Mama car?” or “I want milk.”

Two-Year-Old: Dog, Cat, Dinosaur
Children’s vocabulary starts expanding at this stage, and they have around 200 to 300 words that they are familiar with.3 You will be hearing many nouns at this stage – dog, cat, banana, cookie. They also start saying, “thank you” “sorry” and “all gone”. Generally, these are words that they frequently use as they interact with the world around them.

Three-Year-Old: Happy... Angry!
They don’t call them threenagers for nothing. At this age, they’re well capable of talking back to you, and their vocabulary has increased significantly. Expect your child’s vocabulary to triple to about 900 to 1000 words at this stage.3 Three-year-olds are also able to string together simple sentences. You can expect more connecting words such as “if”, “and”, “because”, more numbers and names of categories such as “vegetables” and “animals”. They should also be identifying simple emotions such as “happy”, “sad” and “angry”.

Four-Year-Old: I Don’ t Know
Typically, four-year-olds have a 1,500 to 1,600 word vocabulary.3 You can expect more complex emotions like “confused” “upset” and “delighted” and also more connecting words such as “when” and “but”.4 They have a better sense of direction and many more prepositions in their sentences. They are also able to verbalize what’s going on in their head by telling you “I don’t know,” or “I can’t remember.” Yes, at this stage, sentences are getting increasingly complex.

Five to Six-Year-Old: To Infinity and Beyond
Around this age, your child will be a kindergartener and have an expressive vocabulary of anywhere between 2,000 to 3,000 words.4 Meanwhile, her receptive vocabulary (words she understands) will be about 20,000 to 24,000 words.3 They understand alliteration and rhymes and are able to read and write. They can also easily form sentences with six words or more.

 

Now that you know what to expect, here are some activities for you to build your child’s vocabulary.

How to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary
The Details
How to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary The Details
1. Read, Read and Read

1. Read, Read and Read

This is a given, and it is almost impossible to overemphasize its importance. Expose your child to plenty of reading materials. The more she reads, the wider her vocabulary will be. Read with her as well, and encourage her to pay attention to new or unfamiliar words.

2. Sensory Play

2. Sensory Play

Engage in sensory play such as playing in a sandbox, making dough, exploring the texture and so on. As you engage in the play, you and your child can describe what you see, feel, hear, taste and smell5 and you’ll be amazed at how rapidly your child adds sensory words to her vocabulary!

3. Explore!

3. Explore!

A little bit of adventure is good for everyone, so take your child out to explore nature. Take them to beaches, parks, rivers, wherever you please. Talk about everything you see, hear and experience. Your child will be excited and have lots to say. Extend this activity by following up your little outing with a book that is related to it.

4. Dinnertime Conversations

4. Dinnertime Conversations

Make dinnertime more meaningful by making it a vocabulary building time as well. For starters, you can ask your child questions about her day. Ask her to tell you who she played with, what she had for lunch, what her teacher wore, what books she read at the library and so on. As she describes her day, you can use descriptive words and phrases to substitute the simpler ones that she uses. In no time, she will be repeating after you!

5. Retelling Stories

5. Retelling Stories

After you’ve established a reading routine, every now and then, put the book down and ask your child to either retell the story in her own words or to create her own story altogether. Along the way, ask questions to introduce new words and concepts. When you force her to articulate her ideas, it works wonders in reaching for new words!

Along with engaging your child in these activities, it’s also important that you ensure she has sufficient rest and good nutrition.

So go all out and help your children to build a solid vocabulary. It’s one of the best gifts you can give them!

References:

1https://www.k5learning.com/blog/top-5-reasons-learning-vocabulary-important

2https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/toddler-language-milestones#1

3https://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/149_vocabularydevelopment.pdf

4https://raisingchildren.net.au

5https://handsonaswegrow.com/toddlers-vocabulary-play/

 

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