Building your child’s vocabulary may seem daunting, especially during a time when you may be working from home and without childcare. Luckily, there are many easy ways to incorporate this skill into your daily activities and routines.
Just by narrating your actions, you are modeling various vocabulary words to your child. For example, as you’re cooking a meal, narrate the steps you’re taking as you prepare the meal. Here are some tips for using narration during your daily routines:
Keep sentences simple
Keep your sentence simple and use phrases such as “open the box”, “water is hot”, “put noodles in”, “stir the noodles”.
Modify your vocabulary based on your child’s age
For a young child, emphasize basic words like “spoon”, “plate”, and “noodles”. For older children, use more advanced words like “boiling”, “hot”, “stir”, and “drain”.
Don’t quiz your child
Rather than quizzing your child (for example, asking “what’s this?”) or requiring your child to repeat you, keep interactions natural and positive. Although it may not seem like much, simply narrating your actions provides vocabulary models for your child and will help increase his or her vocabulary.
Try and try again!
Narrating your actions may seem unnatural at first, and that is ok. The more you practice this technique, the more natural it will become. Even if it feels like you’re talking to yourself, know that by providing models of new vocabulary words, you are helping your child.
There is no right or wrong way to use this technique. You have the tools you need to help increase your child’s vocabulary and language development. Feel confident and empowered, because you can do this!
Blog written by Maggie Boorman, Speech-Language Pathologist at Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center