Part three of our language in play posts. This week we are going to talk about repetition. So naturally I named it three-peat. Because I love words.
Repetition – when done right – should be super annoying. To yourself, to your husband, to any adult in the vicinity – but I promise it won’t be to your child. Your child will ohh and ahh over repetition. They will think the words coming out of your mouth are pure gold. They will beg you for more. Okay, maybe not beg you for more. But all the rest is true.
In order for a child to learn new words, they need to hear them a lot. They need to see them in picture and watch them in action. And they need to hear them. Over and over and over again. Then they will learn them.
Go go go. Go go go. Go Gus. Go Gus. Go go go. You gettting it?
Lots of people think kids learn words by tell them to “say —.” This might work. The child might say “—” right back to the adult. But guess what: the child still doesn’t know what “—” means. They do not know what “—” does or how to use this new word. They just said it because someone told them to. I call this a circus trick, not the learning of a new word.
For your child to actually know and understand a new word, you gotta say it and say it a lot. “Sweep truck! Sweep sweep sweep! Sweep truck! Sweep sweep sweep!” And you better be sweeping while you say it. Now your child understands what “sweep” means. They are going to hop around the house and say “sweep” they are going to a bunny and say “sweep.” They know “sweep.”
What if they don’t though? No worries. Research shows a child needs exposure to a word 7 different times to really learn a new word. So if “hop” doesn’t stick right away, give it a go again tomorrow. And repeat it a million times the next day and the next.
However, if your child is not picking up on words after multiple exposures don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can repeat words millions of times, but if your child has a language delay, a speech disorder, or hearing issues – repetition might not be enough. That is why the world has speech pathologists!