Series Part #7: Helping Kids Get Ready for Kindergarten Includes Lots of Words
Parents and caregivers often want to know how to help kids get ready for kindergarten and a powerful way to do this is by using lots and lots of words.
Much of learning and the way we communicate to others is done using words. Children’s brains need massive amounts of language stimulation in the early years. Just how much? Millions and millions of words. Some comprehensive research averages the number of words a child hears in just a year to be over 10 million. If a child starts school at age 4 that’s more than 40 million words.
How can parents and caregivers give early brains this word-nutrition? By including words in whatever you are doing! Talk, sing, tell stories, have face-to-face conversations with others, and when needed, talk to things. For instance, when you discover a wet towel that somebody has left on the floor, you can say to the towel, “Hey Towel, what are you doing down here? This isn’t where you go. You go on the towel rod right over here. See? Doesn’t that feel better? Much more comfortable than the floor.”
When you are cooking, ask the spoon if it will help you mix and stir. Change your voice to be the spoon and share how much you like to help. (Mmm, I just love stirring. Who gets to lick the spoon? )
Are those raised eyebrows as you hear this? This seems to fall under the heading ‘out to lunch ideas’. Think of one word as being equal to one penny and the brain as a brain-bank. Each word your child hears is a deposit. Would you rather your child has an account with 40 million deposits or only 10 million? When numbers get that high it doesn’t seem to make as much impact, so let’s take off some of the zeros. Would you rather have $10 in your wallet or $40? Maybe that’s a better comparison. Language is brain enrichment.
If your home language isn’t English, talk, sing, and tell stories in that language too. English isn’t an easy language to learn so use both. What are some other ways you can use plenty of words for your child’s language brain bank?