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Written by Olivya Sara 

Even if babies come into this world with an inborn skill to tune to our voices, they should develop it over time to be fully capable of understanding language. They start developing pre-skills needed to converse in a particular language like showing gestures, interacting with you etc. Mastering basic language takes time, your child will start picking up words at a very fast pace from 18 months onwards. Many new parents don’t realise the influence they hold over their child’s verbal development. Kids with a large vocabulary adjust better in a structured classroom setting than the others. Children pick up linguistic skills over time and your efforts. Here’s how you can help nurture your toddler’s vocabulary. 

1. Direct Interaction 

One of the best ways to boost your child’s verbal development is to directly interact with them. Converse with them and talk to them about stuff that’s interesting to them. Ask them about their favourite cartoon show or character. Ask them questions that make them ponder and encourage them to use more vocabulary. Reward them with a smile or an applause when they take the effort to respond. You don’t have to perfect each line that comes out of your toddler’s mouth, just acknowledge their attempt positively. 

Some toddlers are auditory learners, which means that they respond better to music more than conversations. Use nursery rhymes that facilitate your child to learn new words. Use actions to keep them engaged and interested.  

Even if educational shows are beneficial, I don’t recommend putting your toddler in front of your TV to pick up vocabulary. Your kid will respond better to personal interaction, so make sure you spend daily quality time your little one! 

2. Story-Time

Try to incorporate reading time to your bedtime routine. Initially, use picture books with captivating graphics to get your kids hooked. Show them different pictures and explain the names of the objects clearly. Ask them about their favourite characters and plots.  

To make it more engaging, you could role-play with DIY costumes and props. Recreate your toddler’s favourite scenes from the book to help bring the book to life. Teach them short dialogue exchanges and record the roleplay to treasure it for a lifetime.  

3. Games 

Another brilliant way to aid your baby’s vocabulary spurt is to play games together. 

 Here are some ideas you can use for play-time: 

  • Pointing game – Point out different objects around the ask and ask your toddler to name them. It might be challenging initially, but once they get a hang of it, they will start enjoying the game. Reward them with a treat for each object they name correctly. You could also take them outside and ask them to describe how they feel and smell. This helps them learn sensory words quickly. 
  • Guess it – Ask your kid to guess the animal by its sounds or body parts. Imitate the animal’s sounds and describe important facts about the animal to your kid.  
  • Online Activities – Interactive animated storeys and activities can be found online. All you have to do is lookup for websites that contain educational game for kids.  

4. Play Dates 

Allowing your child to play with kids their age helps them socialise better. You could also let them mingle with older children. Your child might try to imitate their way of talking and behaviour. This in turn increases their confidence and aids their social development. 

Normally, a two-year-old has a vocabulary of around 150-300 words. Their vocabulary increases exponentially during the 2-3 age gap. This is when they learn to control their volume and pitch of their voice. They start creating longer sentences with detailed explanations.  

All you need to do is to interact with them, sing songs, read with them and play engaging games. Tell them storeys about your past or about the time she was born.  

Don’t try to fast track your child’s linguistic development by teaching them too many words a day. Pick a word every day and teach them what it means and how to use it. Learning a language is a slow process, you need to be patient enough to allow your child to make mistakes and learn from them

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