As your baby continues to grow, he or she becomes more and more curious about the surroundings. They are eager to name the objects. They will try the sound of the words they hear by rolling them on their tongues. Often you will find your baby repeating the word he has just heard without even grasping the meaning of it. For example, if your toddler has heard the word ‘office’ for the first time you will find him or her repeating office as he plays with the toys, is running around in the garden or splashing around in the bath tub.
This is the time you have to be very responsible as parents. You have to be careful about how and what you speak in front of your child. It is your responsibility to teach your child new words and the names of various objects around him.
Here are some tips which will help you increase your child’s vocabulary:
1. Do not baby talk
A lot of books and therapists will tell you that as your child grows up you have to stop the baby talk. Your baby is now learning and you don’t want him to learn gibberish. Instead talk in simple easy to understand language. While your baby might not understand complex sentences, simple constructions like, “Do you want to go out?” “Are you hungry?” “Daddy is in office.” “I have to work” , are easy to understand and will help your child learn the process.
2. Invest in picture books
Read a story out to your child. Let him look at the pictures and point out various elements of the story in those pictures. Ask your child to point them out back to you. Repeat the process with the same picture and gradually progress through the entire story.
3. Name the objects
Whenever you are travelling or simply stepping out doors with your child, point out at objects and name it for him. Ask your child to repeat after you. For example point out at a car and say ‘car’. After a couple of minutes point out at another car and say, “look! One more car.” Point out as many objects as you can. As a rule do not introduce more than a couple of objects a day. It might confuse your child.
4. Play the “What is this” game
Every time you have pointed out objects to your child make sure you help him recall those words. The best way to do this is to point at the object and ask him “What is this”. Give your baby sufficient time to recall the name and say it out loud.
5. Talk to your baby
Have coherent conversations with your baby. You have to be patient for your baby to respond. Avoid rhetorical questions. Encourage your child with questions which have simple answers. For example instead of asking, “Do you want an apple?” try asking, “Do you want an apple or a banana?” It will also help to hold out the fruits while you are saying their name.
6. Introduce words through songs
Nursery Rhymes or songs which have a lot of objects in them are a fun way to get your child interested in learning new words. There are a lot of CDs available in the market which will help you achieve this goal. Alternately you can create your own songs which achieve the same objective.
7. A word a day
Pick a word which is not associated with an object but rather an act or emotion. Explain this word to your child. Repeat this word as many times as you can through the day. Encourage your child to use it as well. If you are a part of a larger family, let everybody know what the word of the day is. Encourage everybody to use it around the child.
8. Be patient
If your child has been playing with your in-laws or your nephews and nieces, ask your child questions about the game. Be patient while your child forms coherent sentences and tries to explain it to you. Encourage your child to talk in sentences instead of words.
9. Use synonyms
Use phrases or words which mean the same thing to increase the vocabulary of your child. For example if you say “on time” the first time, substitute it with “punctual” the next time. There is a list of easy to use synonyms available on the internet.
10. Play word games
Choose a word game like “Where’s the book?” Reward your child every time he picks the right object and fetches it for you. Encourage him to associate more words with objects. There are more such games available on the internet.