There has been time and again researches on the Speech Development for kids less than 3/4years. And with every research, it is coming out firmly that the use of a wide variety of vocabulary is so important for a kid to start speaking & later enhance his spoken skills. For this, parents have to talk more and more with their kids, so that they become more receptive & communicative. They need to link common words with their images. Remember, Images have a better capture in the brain than written or spoken phrases. And, so let me share some of the activities I focussed upon when my kid was growing after a year.
10 activities to enhance Speech and Vocabulary of a Pre-schooler/Schooler :
1. Avoid no-sense Baby talks –
That’s the biggest lapse we do as parents. We feel that giving those cute not-so-real words will help a child learn easily. But No, childish words help nothing, rather a child gets confused when the real words come in front of them. Avoid using the baby talks, as they hamper a child’s speech. Read out for Baby talk here.
“Hey its time for poo.. Let’s go to potty”! Here a child will relate poo to Potty.
Use Baby words only if they are followed by adult words. If not, avoid using Baby words in the talks”.
Read: When does a baby start walking?
2.Play Question games –
Let them be quizzed, they’ll really enjoy it. Ask them questions as in –
“Does Cow fly? Do you want to drink water? Is this a Ball?”
Encourage your child to speak up & revert to your questions. If you feel that he knows but doesn’t speak up, try marking Ball as a Bat [Fooling works] & then let your kid counter you by saying – No, It’s a Ball! Play Wonder / Think games, as – “I think that this balloon will fly, will it”? Let him respond & then leave the balloon and see his reaction and then clap & converse.
3. Choices –
Kids love expressing their choices. Rather my 2.5year old kid sometimes says, Mama, I want to wear Red tee and Spiderman shoes. Sometimes I try not to make him give his choices, rather give him my choices.
“You’ll wear White tee or Black today? You want to eat Apple or a Mango today?”
This way his thoughts, imaginations, choices all come face to face & it gets lovely to hear the responses as, “Mama Mangoes are sweet, so I’ll eat them”. Your kid chose one & you started building his vocabulary.
4. Associate Meanings with words –
Speak full sentences with meaning. As in,
“This is a cup, we drink milk, coffee, Milk shake in it. What do you want to drink today?”
Get your kid what he desires & this will help him associate with the words. Focus on vocab words & keep on repeating them during the day. If your child is indicating that he wants milk, then focus on milk & build around phrases
5. Singing/Rhyming –
Keep reciting rhymes/ good feel songs, be it when you are cooking, walking or driving with your child. This shall keep him engaged as well as help in vocabulary development. Begin with reciting small songs or rhymes and try explaining the meanings. As in, “Rain Rain go away” is simple & can be explained practically as well”.
Sing the songs, don’t worry about the perfect tones, kids are not here to judge you on a reality show. But when they see your mouth moving with your expressions, it helps them learn.
6. Introduce New words & relate it with the surroundings –
When a word is introduced, do not put a full stop there. Try to relate it with some practical objects & explain your lil one the meaning of it. And, yes revision is a must, even at this tender age. Try revision of a new word daily, till you see that your kid has started using it in the right manner.
7. Pretend Plays –
They are good plays to help kids gain insight, develop their cognitive skills & helps in good speech & vocabulary for small kids. Pretend a theme as “Night at Granny’s house”. Try making over the room as that of granny’s. Moms can pretend as Grandma & Dads as grandpa with their look & feel. While playing all this, focus on the characters, different words, the meaning of night, stars, moons and all that revolves around sleeping at Granny’s house in the night!
8. Involve Child –
Try involving your child in daily activities. Take him to the grocery store & tell him where are you going, which fruits & veggies are you going to buy. Show them practically and along with these you can make them learn shapes, colors, sizes(Large, small), opposites, weights (heavy, light) and so much more. While in the kitchen, involve your baby. You name the veggies /cans & ask him to give them to you. This will also enhance the recognition, eye-hand coordination of a kid.
9. Clues –
Try giving clues to your kid, as in,
“Hey we are going grocery shopping. We will bring something that is purple, now tell me what is it?”
Let your child scratch his head & name it as Brinjal. But be sure that you have made your kid learn about it earlier, don’t let him fail to respond since it was never taught before:).
10. Mirror Play –
Try speaking in front of the mirror asking your child to replicate what you spoke looking at how the mouth moves to make a specific sound. With every perfect pronunciation, let the lil one have a small surprise.
Reading Books – Reading the story books or pointing out pictures in the book & describing them are really great ways to enhance the imagination & Phonetics of a child. Wanna know more about Reading, click here.
Friends, I hope you found ample ways to develop the vocabulary & spoken skills of a growing child. Share with me, what all you did to develop these skills.