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How to help your baby learn new words

little girl reading books

Key points:

  1. A child’s vocabulary is directly related to later academic success.
  2. By age two, children’s vocabulary expands significantly, reaching up to fifty or more words.
  3. Parents can help their child learn new words by letting them take the lead, following their lead, using gestures, reading, and talking about abstract things.
  4. Parents should continue to be amazed by their child’s language development.

Research shows that the number of words used by a child is directly related to later academic success. So, having a broad vocabulary can help your little one be prepared for school and life in general! Around age two, children’s vocabulary expands significantly, reaching up to fifty or more words. Then, by age three, they have an active lexicon of three hundred or more words since, in average, a child has the capacity to acquire four to six words per day.


Want to help your little one learn new words? Here’s a few things you can try in your daily interactions:

  • Let them take the lead. When you’re interacting with them, first, observe what they’re doing and what they’re interested in. Then, wait for them to communicate with you and, finally, listen actively to what they’re saying. They’ll be more motivated to interact when they get to start a conversation.
  • Follow their lead. Once they’ve communicated what they are interested in, follow their lead and respond accordingly. Comment on what they have to say or join in on the fun yourself!
  • Use gestures. Gestures are a great tool for learning new words. When you use them, it helps your child see and understand the meaning of certain words.
  • Read. Reading books is a perfect way to expand their vocabulary. While you’re reading, make connections between what’s happening in the story and your child’s life. Also, after you’ve encountered a new word in a book, use it again during the day. That way, they will begin to remember it.
  • Talk about abstract things. Talk to your toddler about their feelings, past experiences, or even imaginary things. Be creative and go beyond what’s right in front of your eyes.

With time and practice you’ll get to the point where you’ll want to slow your little chatterbox down for a bit. Never stop being amazed by their development!

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