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3 Tips To Build Your Child’s Vocabulary

Racing around the other morning I said to my 2 year old daughter,


“I’m just going to pack my bag then we’ll go.”


“That’s ok Mummy, I’m waiting patiently.”


Waiting patiently! Where did she learn to say this?!


“Thank you, darling, that’s very nice.”


I had to know…


“Where did you learn to say ‘waiting patiently’?”


Belle then went on to tell me that it was when we all (my husband, daughter and myself) went into the city to see the Silver Lady. The Silver Lady (our name for her) is a street artist (see below) who my daughter just adores. The Silver Lady stands as still as a statue and occasionally waves, smiles or makes some small gesture. On this particular day we had to wait a little while to see The Silver Lady as she was still setting up. Whilst we were waiting, apparently one of us (both my husband and I are taking credit – but if I was truly honest, I think it might have been him!) said to our daughter,


“Thank you for waiting patiently Belle. You are sitting so quietly waiting. The Silver Lady will be ready soon.”


And that was that.


‘Waiting patiently’ stuck with her. And although it’s quite a ‘fancy’ phrase, I think it stuck with her for several reasons:

  • It was used in context – as she was ‘waiting patiently’, the comment was made.

  • It was explained further – straight after ‘waiting patiently’ was said ‘You are sitting quietly waiting’ was the follow up phrase, resaying ‘waiting patiently’ in a way she might understand.

  • She was praised – The words were used when she was doing something good. I find Belle just feels so proud when she does the right thing and ‘catching’ great behaviour is sooo powerful!


Once you’ve introduced a new word or phrase, use it as often as you can, saying it deliberately and emphasising the words as you say it.


So my suggestion is use more complicated words. Don’t be afraid! When your child is ready, they will pick up and understand these new words and develop a rich, extended vocabulary.


And eventually The Silver Lady was ready and shook Belle’s hand. She couldn’t have been happier!


2 Responses to “3 Tips To Build Your Child’s Vocabulary”

  1. Norah Colvin on July 27th, 2014 8:17 am

    This is a wonderfully clear explanation of how to support the vocabulary development of young children. Well done!

  2. theed on July 28th, 2014 5:22 am

    Thank you for your comment Norah – much appreciated! Kind regards, Leigh

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