Now that your child has started talking non-stop, it is time for you to teach him some fun things about speaking the language correctly. The basic gender-identifying pronouns of “he” and “she” are easy for your child to understand and a great kick start to his journey in grammar.
It is important that your child understands the difference between a boy and a girl – visually and mentally. You can do this using pictures in books as well as by pointing to people in real life and asking your child to tell you whether they are a boy or a girl. Bonus tip – research has proved that cartoon characters seem to work really well here!
1. Teach Him Use Pronouns In Very Short Sentences
Now that your child knows the difference between a boy and a girl, work toward building the association between the pronouns “he” and “she” for them respectively. You can do this as part of daily conversation and activity time. For example, point toward two characters in his picture book – a boy and a girl. Now point toward the bowl of soup he is drinking. So, who wants to share the soup? It’s either “he” or “she” who does.
2. Use He and She With Simple Verbs
Seeing these pronouns in action, literally, will help your child learn to use them. There are a number of simple verbs you could deploy for this practice – eat, walk, sing, dance, etc. Whenever you spot someone doing the said things, make simple sentences like “He eats” or “She is dancing”. The same can also be done through books. Your child will soon be able to tell the difference and start using such phrases himself.
3. Start Using Pronouns in Everyday Speech
Finally, now that your kids have a better hang of the whole concept, it’s time to start using it in normal talking! Try and use these pronouns all the time when you’re in the park, meeting family, or at the mall. Ask questions like “What is he eating?” emphasising the “he”, or “Should we use he or she for that person by the ice-cream parlour?”
4. Correct Your Child If They’re Wrong
If your child makes mistakes, which he certainly will at the outset, kindly correct them without being obvious. For example, repeat his sentence back to him with the correct pronoun. Or, tell him that you are going to help him with the pronouns whenever he forgets to use the correct one. This way he will see you as a pal and the whole thing will be much more fun! Please also remember that possessive variations such as “his” and “hers” are still too complicated for your child until he masters “he
and “she”. So do not push him at this stage.
The process of teaching and learning pronouns can be a fun, albeit long, exercise. Your child is still learning to come to terms with many facets of language. Just be patient, keep practising, and remember that both of you are doing a great job!