5 ways to increase your child's vocabulary

Children can only work with tools that we give them. They can't just come up with words on their own. We have teach them new words if we expect them to be able to articulate well. We all know they pick up words we don't want them to, but they only repeat what we expose them to. So let's get creative and teach them some words we would like to hear come out of their mouths.

Increase your own vocabulary: As usual, we need to lead by example. Our children repeat what we say, whether we want them to or not. If you increase your own vocabulary, your child is bound to ask questions about the words you use. You can easily do this by looking up a new word every day, reading well-written books or even getting into a word of the day program.

Encourage your child to read: People naturally pick up new words through reading. Kids especially can learn about contextual clues as they read stories that interest them. If you can find books that feed into your child's natural interest, he'll be more inclined to read. For instance, my son, like any 10-year-old boy, often feels as if he doesn't fit in. Therefore he likes to read books that are made for tween boys like him.

Make a game of learning new words: You can make a game out of just about anything. Why not make a game about words? It can be something as simple as making a challenge out of finding the funniest word to describe boogers.

Have fun with the dictionary: When your child asks you what a word means, your first instinct is to give them the answer. When not act like you don't know the answer? Instead of giving them the answer why not ask them to look it up for you? You can even look it up with them and have fun with it. Instead of just looking up the word that you want to know the definition of, take a look at the words around it. Keep in mind that every time your child looks up a word, they're not just learning a new definition to a new word. They're learning about all that alphabetizing, pronunciation, spelling and new concepts for old ideas.

Replace words: Sometimes I use words with my son that he doesn't understand. He understands what I'm saying, but he's not used using the words that I happened to use at that point. He might even get frustrated and ask me why I didn't just say what I meant. Sometimes I want to make my point a bit more clear to him and other times I just enjoy using different words. In any case, he picks up on this and learns a new word along the way.

If we aren't the ones teaching our kids new words, who do you think is going to? My son constantly learns things in public school that I don't necessarily want him to learn. While he is sure to pick up words that I don't want to hear, I know it's my job to give him ones I do want to hear. However, it doesn't have to be a painful process.

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References: Personal and professional experience, http://studentofmotherhood.blogspot.com