Helping Toddlers Describe Events Verbally
Taking the classic reading route can build your toddler’s vocabulary. However, stimulating him to use his imagination to create events in his mind and narrate them has a high impact on his language development. Encouraging young kids to express themselves through speech will have them talking a mile a minute!
Learning the art of communication is an exciting phase in the life of your toddler. At this time, he is alert and aware of everything happening around him and absorbs words at a very fast rate. Between 2 to 3 years of age, his vocabulary will grow to include as many as 300 words. During this exciting phase, you want your child to learn language and nuances in the best way possible. You also want him to build his imagination and start being creative with words, thoughts and expressions. Discover how you can help!
Tips for Encouraging Young Children to Express Verbally
1. Teaching through Conversation
- Ask him questions that guide him through a conversation. Start with questions that have ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. Slowly move to ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ and then graduate to ‘when’, ‘how’ and ‘why’.
- Take a topic that interests your child and then ask him questions about it like ‘Why does Mickey Mouse have a tail?’ or ‘Why are you putting your blocks in a particular shape?’ rather than just asking questions like ‘What are you doing?’ and ‘What are you watching?’
- Ask questions that do not have a correct answer but that will force him to think such as ‘Why are apples both green and red?’ rather than only asking him the color of the apples.
- Engage your child in a conversation that takes him back to the events of the day. You can ask probing questions after he comes back from day care like ‘Did your friends come to school today?’ and ‘Can you tell me the name of your teacher?’
2. Teaching through Pictures
By engaging your child through pictures, you can stimulate his imagination and narration of images to ultimately develop his verbal skills. Here are some activities that you can do:
- Instead of spending time reading from a book with only text, use books with large pictures to tell stories so that your child can open them unassisted and still manage to ‘read’ them through the images.
- Read out stories to your child and then enact them with him. For example, you could read classic stories like ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and then pretend-play by one of you being Jack and the other the giant.
- Make silly pictures like Mickey Mouse sitting on the shoulder of your child on one of his photographs. You can ask him what’s silly and funny about it.
- Take out family pictures of a vacation and ask your child to describe what’s happening in the photos.
- Encourage your child to draw pictures and then explain or create a story around that drawing.
These activities are not just stimulating but also fun to do for both you and your child. They also give you the opportunity to spend quality time with your toddler, something that will really help the two of you forge a strong bond of love.