“Shh… Be careful when you use such words in front of the child. He understands most of what we speak!”
“What are you talking about! He’s only 3!”
“True, but then he keeps asking a barrage of ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘why’ questions, and pertinent ones, too!”
Blame it on their ultra-curiosity or ultra-receptivity, children pick up words every now and then and are in dead earnest to apply these newly acquired words. As parents, we must guide them appropriately to help them develop on language skills. Here are a dozen tips.
1. Talk to your child! Make meaningful and interesting conversations to get your child to talk about things, events, people, experiences, and feelings.
2. Read out to your child. Be it a digital storybook, or a fairytale series, engage your child to listen to stories. Encourage her to ask questions.
3. Let your child play interactive multimedia games on word and sentence building. This is a great way to ensure that they learn with fun.
4. Sing out and enact plenty of rhymes to the child. This will help the child discover the meaning of words through action and rhythm.
5. Ask your child open-ended questions so that she gets to express her ideas freely, without having to worry about being right or wrong.
6. Introduce new words, and their synonyms and antonyms through stories, songs, pictures, and games.
7. Ask your child to write a letter or make a greeting card with a special message to a friend/classmate.
8. Encourage your child to write a story and draw pictures to make it visually engaging.
9. Make your child dramatize a character from a story! Demonstrate to your child how to enact a character from a story and then have her play such characters with their characteristic dialogues, actions, and mannerisms.
10. Play the ‘Color Clue’ game: Show your child a color and have her recall the objects this color is associated with. For example, tomato for red, tree for green, and so on.
11. Play a dummy setting: If your child likes to play restaurant, introduce her to all related words such as menu card, waiter, appetizer, beverage, dessert, and so on. This could be done for other settings, as well.
12. Play the ‘Guessing Bag’ game: Place an object inside a bag or a box such that your child can’t see it. Offer clues about the object. The child will call on her previous knowledge to make guesses about the contents. Continue offering clues using as many descriptive words as possible, until your child guesses it correctly. You may make this a group activity to make it more fun.
While you keep at it, you must keep in mind that positive encouragement is the way to go; also do ensure that you offer thoughtful responses to her expressions to keep her going in the right direction. Remember, your child will develop a tongue after how and what you have been speaking to her.