8 Ways to Improve Your Toddler’s Vocabulary
Parents of most toddlers are unaware of how fast the vocabulary of a child can improve if they had a little assistance. A quick look at the vocabulary list of a 28 to 30 months old toddler can help them gauge their little one’s knowledge of words.
A Toddler’s Vocabulary at the Age of 2 Can Reveal His Future Success
A study appeared in the journal Child Development revealed that children with a large vocabulary by the age of 2 are more academically ready for kindergarten than their peers with a limited vocabulary. They analysed nationally representative data for 8, 650 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. It was also found that children from higher-income family and higher-quality parenting have a larger vocabulary than their peers. And children born to mothers with health problems or children with low birth weight had a smaller vocabulary.
When and How a Toddler’s Vocabulary Develops
As parents, you cannot wait to hear first words from your baby’s mouth. So what if they don’t make sense to you? His first words are like bells chiming in your ears and they get imprinted in your brain and heart. But, do you know if your toddler is meeting his language development milestones?
Studies have proved that ever since your child utters his first word, his vocabulary starts building. As he learns new words, he adds these to his ever-growing list of words. So, how many words should a 28 to 30 months old say? It is believed that an 18-month-old toddler can speak up to 110 words. On the other hand, a child between 28 and 30 months can easily know 500 to 546 words, which is quite an impressive count.
There is no denying the fact that you need a sound knowledge of words in order to hold a proper conversation. Thus, your toddler too should learn enough words so that he can kick start a meaningful interaction with you or his friends. Keeping an eye on the way his vocabulary improves can help you gauge his language development.
Vocabulary List of a Toddler – 100 Common Words That Toddlers Speak
Between the ages of 28 and 30 months, this is the list of words that toddlers should start speaking. Take note of these words, and see if your baby is speaking new words or not.
Vocabulary Development in Toddlers – 8 Ways to Help it Grow
Children need guidance and a little push from their parents to learn the right things. To encourage speech development in toddlers a little effort is required from your side. Here is what you can do for your toddler’s vocabulary development.
1. Read Together
This is one of the most recommended activities to enhance the vocabulary of a toddler. Start off with board books and picture books with repetitive words. Point out different pictures and spell out their names loud and clear. Encourage your child to repeat the words that you speak while explaining those pictures. Engage in this activity every day. You can also do role play with your kids. Take scenes from a book and act them out; involve your toddler too. Soon your toddler will be speaking new words he has learned from the book.
2. Talk with your Child
There is nothing that works better than the first-hand experience of holding a conversation. So, go ahead and engage your toddler in conversation. Talk to him about what you are doing and point out different things to him when you take him out for a walk. Ask him questions and wait for him to reply. Applaud him when he keeps up with the conversation. This would encourage your child to take a keen interest in what you are saying, thereby improving his vocabulary.
3. Sing Songs
Some toddlers are more enamored by songs than with stories and conversations. There are a lot of songs that help in teaching new words to toddlers. Try out songs like “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and “Old McDonald Had a Farm”. Don’t forget to use appropriate actions as this would keep up his interest and also help your little one understand the meaning of the song.
4. Try Pointing Game
Point out different things to your toddler in his books or around the house. Once he is acquainted with most of the things, point out to something and ask him what it is. Though he might seem a bit confused initially, he would soon be able to name the things.
5. Teach Him Sensory Words
Engage your child in sensory activities. Like, go outside in the garden after the first rain of the year and ask him what he smells. Take him to different places and ask him to describe what he sees, smells, hears, and feels. You can also allow him to play in the sand and he will tell you what sand feels like inn his hand. Soon, he will have a stock of vocabulary to talk about a variety of things.
6. Explore Your Surroundings
Nature is a wonderful teacher. What we don’t learn in a school classroom or at home, we learn by exploring nature. Toddlers love to go out and learn about new things to feed their curiosity. So, use this opportunity to enhance his vocabulary. Take him to an amusement park or zoo. He will come across new things, both living and non-living—a variety of trees, animals, birds, wooden benches, fountains and what not—he will have a fresh set of vocabulary to take home.
7. Let Him Play with Older Children
When your toddler mingles with children who are older to him, he will learn many things. Not only his vocabulary will improve, he will also observe their way of talking, their behaviour, and how they act in different situations. It will make him socially active, thereby improve his confidence.
8. One Word Per Day
Teaching too many words a day can confuse your little one. Instead, pick one word every day and teach your child what it means. Then encourage your tot to use this word at least five times during the day. Applauding him when he does this correctly would get him more interested in the game and within no time your tot would have an impeccable vocabulary.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Some toddlers may not reach their language development milestone at the right time, in such a situation here is what you can do to get him to speak –
- While doing some activity, talk about it. Describe what you see, listen, or taste. Narrating what you are doing exposes children to a new set of activities and words too.
- Indulge in parallel talk; when your child is playing or is busy in some activity, use short sentences to describe the task in his hand.
- Don’t ask him too many questions, as he will get irritated. Instead, appreciate him for his small achievements.
- Provide him with choices, as it leads to language development and improves decision-making.
- When your toddler uses two combining words, expand his language by adding missing words to make the sentence grammatically correct.
It is the responsibility of parents to see if their toddler is meeting his development criteria. Usually, toddlers start babbling between the ages of 9 and 12 months. However, if your child has uttered nothing by then, you need not concern yourself. Every child grows at his own pace; give him some time to speak. But, if your child is not showing any progress even after months, consult a doctor.
Increasing a child’s vocabulary should be the top-most priority of parents if they want to see their child succeed in life. So, are you working on it?
What measures do you take to enhance your toddler’s vocabulary? Share your ideas with other toddler moms.