Using books to help toddlers learn to express themselves

As well as building a vocabulary that names objects and living things such as chair, table, dog, cat etc, it is important for children to eventually know words that allow them to express their feelings. A good starting point is always love, happy and sad. As they get bigger and their understanding grows, add more words.

Books are especially useful in getting your child to talk about things that may be on their mind – such as a picture of a cat may prompt the response ‘I don’t like cats’ and will give you the opportunity to talk to them about why. Just recently with our 2 and a half year old BB, I was leafing through some old Mr Men books that had been boxed up for years. He leafed through a separate pile he kinda chose by being attracted to particular colours and images on the front as I briefly looked through the whole stack going ‘oh, i remember reading that with Inks, your sister. oh and that one. And that one was her favourite. This one was mine…’ Eventually he got captivated by a page he kept turning back and forth in a particular book before saying ‘Mummy, she’s sleeping. She’s awake’. – when I looked on one page the character had her eyes shut and on the other they were open. He then went back to the sleeping page and said ‘She tired’. Yet in another book there was someone portrayed with an upside down smile and BB said ‘She’s sad’.

You can also talk about your feelings:

” I love you soooo much” (obviosuly at teh top of the list 😉 )
” I’m excited”
” I’m so happy”
” I was worried because…”
” It was a bit scary….”

As well as ask questions:

” Are you happy? ”
” Are you tired? ”
” Do you like XXX or YYYY better?”
” Did you enjoy yourself today? “

Remember – DON’T rush them or get frustrated if they don’t ‘get it’ straight away – repetition is the key and being able to relate to a situation or emotion. A nod or shake of teh head indicates they understand. Words will come later 🙂


Ideas on book sharing with your children

Extending Children’s Vocabulary with Picture Books and Stories

Taking books out and about
Reading with toddlers and children
Remembering and joining in with stories
Helping to develop your childs speech and vocabulary

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