Speech Corner – How to help your child learn new words

How to help your child learn new words

 It is important to encourage your child’s vocabulary development. The adults in a child’s life play an important role in helping a child learn new words. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using new vocabulary with your child.

  • Follow your child’s lead – emphasise words that come up in everyday conversations and interactions with your child.
  • Use the word several times – children need to hear a word several times before they start to use it.
  • Don’t bombard your child with words – aim for a balanced conversation between you and your child. It is important to wait after you say something to give your child a chance to respond.
  • Explain new words – this will help your child understand what new words mean (e.g. “Bear felt frightened, that means he was really scared”).
  • Use actions – accompany your words with actions, gestures, or facial expressions, to help your child understand the meaning of words (e.g. if the new word is yawn, show your child what yawning looks like).

The bottom line… it’s not just how much you say, but also what you say and how you say it that makes a difference for your child’s vocabulary growth.

(Adapted from Hanen.org, 2012)

Speech Pathology Team