Books are lovely and fun. They can help your child learn lots of new skills and words. There’s no need to save them just for bedtime, take them out with you on journeys. Make time to share stories and sing songs and rhymes throughout the day. You can take books with you in the car. Obviously you won’t be reading them whilst driving, 😉 but your child can leaf trhough the pages and may start talking about the story. If you are both familiar with this story, try and and get your littlie to re-tell the story with prompts from you. If you have other children, they can read stories in the back together. It’s a great way to make the time pass for impatient little travelers, and also keeps them brain cells nourished for all involved. You could also make up new stories for your favourite characters. Or stories with your own made up characters. I loved making up stories for our now almost 11 year old. She still loves listening to them – and now our 2 and a half year old also enjoys these stories….. Take CDs / tapes (if you still have a tape player) with nursery rhymes, Audiobooks and favourite music. Sing along and enjoy these wonderful moments with your child(ren). The amount of times I used to have to put a certain nursery song or songs in general on repeat….. I wouldn’t change it for the world 🙂
Audiotapes/ Audio CDs are also nice to listen to together at home, anytime of day, whenever your child fancies it. We have a tape player and CD player. Even to this day we pick up audiotapes in charity shops for really cheap. A good place to go audiotape hunting 🙂 We also have a tape player in the car.
If you are using public transport, books are always a good thing to take along and you can do teh same as above, but you can actually look at teh book(s) together. Books are also good when going to a cafe, restaurant, shopping etc.
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 🙂
Extending Children’s Vocabulary with Picture Books and Stories