Extending your Child’s Language Repertoire

I can’t even remember the context now. I just remember the words. “Aesthetically soothing”. Matey and I were reading the book “Gimlet” by Captain W.E. Johns together (actually I was reading and Matey was on the floor playing the situation Gimlet faced himself in in World War 1 with his Lego.) Princess walked into the lounge and perched on the chair beside me. I glanced at her and she commented how she loved (something that I can’t remember right now) because it was aesthetically soothing.

This statement arrested me and I smiled. She didn’t just say that it was beautiful or looked nice. It was aesthetically soothing and she enjoyed it because of that.

I smiled an even bigger smile as I have always desired for my children to have an incredible grasp of the English language and use that language as a tool.

I see this being expressed quite often by both children.


How have I fostered this?

  1. Read great books. We haven’t focused on the ‘toilet humour’ books at all. Instead, I have read to them, and provided for them to read, books with an incredible range of words. A classic example is the Biggles and Gimlet series. These characters do not just walk. They saunter. They creep. They surreptitiously removed themselves from the area. In exposing them to a broad range of words, my children’s language automatically extends.
  1. Use word apps. My husband had a word app downloaded on my phone where a new expressive word was delivered each day so that we could increase our word knowledge on a daily basis. I personally found this rather laborious as I wasn’t necessarily using the word that day, thus those words didn’t ‘stick’ as easily. Thus, I ended up deleting the app. You may find this method helpful though.
  1. Personally, I find that I expand my language the most when I am immersed in it. Read, speak, see and use expressive words and new words in context, frequently. Make it your way of life and your children will begin using those words as well. Vary your own language so that they hear the word bag, then case, then valise etc.When the children were younger, I didn’t use baby talk to speak to them. I chatted away to them in my language, using the proper words for items. I spoke so that they could understand and I tried to vary my language. I also explained to my children what I was doing as I did something eg peeling and coring an apple, I would explain that I was using the peeler to peel the apple peel then I would cut it into quarters and chop off the core before cutting it into slices. As we went for an amble up the road, I would chatter away with my baby and toddler about what was around us to see.
  1. We played a lot of word games. “I spy”, “20 Questions”, “Boggle”, “Scrabble”, “Alphabet” games with finding a descriptive word starting with every letter of the alphabet etc. We use a lot of descriptive words and action words in our home when chatting with each other. Have competitions to see who can name for example the most ‘objects used for carrying things’ etc.

What have you personally found that has been helpful to you and your children for extending your language repertoire?