Children start to understand words as a baby. By the age of 3, the average child knows about 1000 words. By the age of 10, many kids know over 20,000 words. It’s important for kids to keep up with these vocabulary milestones. A poor vocabulary can limit a child’s ability to express themselves and may also limit their ability to learn through reading and listening.
So just what can you do to make sure that your child has a good vocabulary? There are several ways in which you can encourage kids to keep learning new words. Below are just 7 ways to build your child’s vocabulary.
Have frequent conversations with your child
Simply having conversations with your child can help to build their vocabulary. Even if your child is only three years old, you can still enjoy long conversations. These conversations can not only teach your kids new words but also teach them how to appropriately use words – including much of the complex stuff like plural terms and tenses.
Avoid dumbing down your language too much
Many parents make the mistake of dumbing down their language to try to get on their child’s level. While there are some complex words you may want to refrain from using, you shouldn’t avoid all big words in fear that your kids won’t understand them – use it as an opportunity to teach these kids these words.
Don’t try to complete your child’s sentences
If a young child is struggling to get a sentence out, try to avoid immediately finishing the sentence for them. Encourage children how to use words themselves so that they feel confident using them. If you don’t do this, children may expect you to constantly guess what they’re thinking.
Reading is a great activity for learning new words. By reading with your child, you can teach them how to pronounce certain words. You can also get your child familiar with the spelling of words. Try to make reading to children a daily habit if you can.
Point out obscure things you see
Don’t be afraid to constantly teach your kids new words whenever you come across something obscure that they may be curious about. For insurance, while driving, you may be able to point out sights such as ‘windmills’, ‘pylons’ and ‘fields’. Kids will then have a visual memory to help them remember the word.
Play some word games
Word games are a great way to encourage older kids to learn more words. This could include crosswords and word searches or even board games like Scrabble. You can use the likes of this word unscrambler to help kids find new words from anagrams. You can even challenge each other to think of animals or foods or musical instruments beginning with certain letters.
Encourage writing for pleasure
Kids can further develop vocabulary from writing. Writing is something that many kids do as a chore, but it can be turned into a hobby. For instance, you could encourage kids to write stories or keep diaries. When kids start writing for pleasure, they’re more likely to start looking up words themselves and using them creatively.