Tips for Expanding Your Child's Vocabulary

From using descriptive words to talking ALL THE TIME!

Mother and son talking

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It's a simple theory and an easy one to put into practice. The more words that your child hears on a daily basis, the more she'll learn, absorb, and eventually put to use herself. And while vocabulary expansion happens usually on its own as kids meet other people and enter preschool, there is a lot you can do at home to teach your child descriptive words he or she can use and say every day. 

To help you expand your child's vocabulary, try some of these tips:

1. The Devil Is in the Details. 

When you talk to your child, be as specific as possible. "Bring me your shoes," can be "Bring me your pink shoes that tie." Do you want to go for a walk?" turns into "Do you want to go for a long walk outside where we can look at the blue sky and colorful flowers?" Use as many words as you can (within reason).

2. More Information, Please! 

In turn, ask her to use details when she speaks as well. If she asks you for her doll, get the specifics—

"The doll with brown hair? The doll with the green dress?" Even if the item in question is in plain sight, encourage your preschooler to use as many describing words as she can. (This will be good practice for when your child is a teenager and you'll be trying to get as much information as possible out of him or her!)

3. Read a Book. Then Read Another One. Repeat. 

Reading aloud to your child for so many reasons, building up a vocabulary among them! As you read, answer any questions your little one might have, and pose some of your own. If you think there is a word in the book that your preschooler does not understand, ask her what she thinks it means.

4. Talk! All the Time! 

You are your child's best and first teacher. Help them increase the number of words in their vocabulary by simply talking to them. Point out new things, define words if you think they don't understand what you are saying -- just talk to your child about everything and anything. 

5. Label Everything. 

Everywhere you go, everything you see has a label. Don't think because a word is too big that your preschooler can't comprehend, understand, or remember. Don't know what something is? Look it up and then relay the information to your preschooler. 

6. Ask Your Child Questions. 

All day long your child asks you questions. Turn the tables and get some information from your little one. Your queries don't have to be anything complicated -- just things that get your child thinking and talking.

7. Play Word Games. 

There are plenty of toys and games on the market that teach kids about words -- how to spell, what words mean, how to read and more. And those are great! But you can also play some games at home or in the car with your little one and they won't cost you a penny. For example, play a rhyming game where you give your child a word and he has to rhyme it. Or put a twist on "I Spy." Tell your preschooler you spy something that: starts with the letter C, or rhymes with bat, or is a furry mammal that says meow. The possibilities are endless!

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