Teaching children words is crucial, but you may be wondering why it’s so important and how it affects their development. To put it in perspective, imagine being a tourist in an unfamiliar city with countless sights, sounds, and activities. Having a tour guide by your side would be a lifesaver, right? They would explain where you are, what you’re seeing, and where to go.
Similarly, young children are constantly exposed to new experiences and need guidance to understand and interact with the world around them. As parents, we play a vital role in acting as their tour guide by teaching them the names of things. This helps children navigate their way around and feel more confident.
Moreover, words are not just for speaking – they also help with thinking and reasoning. Language and intellect are closely intertwined in child development, as knowing words for things helps children understand them better. Consequently, the more words they learn, the easier it is for them to think critically and creatively.
Here are five tips to guide you as you support your child’s language development
Most importantly, have frequent conversations with your child.
Children literally need to hear a word hundreds of times in a meaningful context for them to decipher and remember its meaning. And then, after learning what a word means, they need to also practise using it in their everyday speech before it will eventually be incorporated into their active vocabulary.
Remember that, for young children, the immediate moment is far more accessible than most of their memories.
Therefore, they pay more attention and learn more when we talk to them about what they are doing now, than when we talk about an event that occurred in the past.
Children learn more from conversations when they take more turns to say something.
They naturally practise more when they speak more, but the main reason why this is so important is that they pay more attention when they are more invested in the conversation.
The more songs and rhymes a pre-schooler knows, the easier it will be for that child to learn to read.
Songs and rhymes don’t only build vocabulary and a love for language – their rhythmic, repetitive, and playful qualities also help children discover that words are made up of special speech sounds – and this prepares them for learning to decode written words.
Children learn more when we add rich vocabulary to ordinary experiences.
For example, using words such as “masterpiece”, “structure” and “foundation” when you and your child are playing with blocks together at home will encourage new language and new thoughts.
There are many interesting, fun, and engaging games that are perfect for developing a variety of skills in 3 to 5-year-olds. If your child is in this age group, we invite you to sign up – at no charge – to receive developmental milestone reminders and information from us monthly. These are aimed at supporting children’s development in all domains. To benefit from this tool, please sign up here.