Confession – I’m an anxious parent. I’m the parent who is constantly googling articles about parenting for fear that my child is somehow behind.
My daughter, Millie, just turned 2 years old in January, and, although she gets a good amount of socialization through the quality daycare she attends three days a week, I still find myself wondering if she’s where she should be in regards to her speech.
Don’t get me wrong – she’s a little chatty Cathy, but sometimes I wonder what else I can do to help her build her vocabulary and use more full sentences. After all, I work in the communications field for a living, so I see firsthand every day how important it is to learn how to communicate effectively, both in writing and in person.
So, forgive me, I took to the internet again and found some fun ideas to try. I thought I’d share in case some of our blog followers with young children might be interested too.
Here are a few of my favorite ideas I came across for increasing toddler vocabulary:
• Play “Fill in the Blank” with their favorite songs – While singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” for example, say “Up above the clouds so high, like a_____,” and let your child fill in the blank with the missing words. (Source: ChildMind.org)
• Play sportscaster – While your child plays, give them a play-by-play, just like a sportscaster. “Millie builds the tallest Lego tower you’ve ever seen and knocks it to the ground!” (Source: ChildMind.org)
• Chat their favorite topics – The Hanen Centre in Canada makes a good point when it advises that children will be more likely to listen and learn a new word if you’re talking about a topic that interests them, whether that be cars or a favorite movie. (Source: Hanen.org)
• Act out words with gestures – Your child may be more likely to understand a new word if you use gestures to act it out. For example, you could shiver and quiver your voice while saying “cold!” (Source: Hanen.org)
• Do a scavenger hunt – This game helps your child learn new words AND how to follow directions (hallelujah!). Hide an object and give your child easy instructions to find it. “Look on the dining room chair,” or “Look behind the chair.” (Source: Parents.com)
Toddlers need to hear a word several times before they will use it on their own. This came up in each article I read. So I guess it’s a good thing that we find ourselves repeating the same songs over and over again…the same books over and over again….the same Sofia the First episodes over and over again. One less thing for me to be anxious about while raising this little person!