Boost your kid’s vocabulary by “narrating” drive time

Keep talking to those babies! From Sara:

One of those inadvertent hacks is how we’ve taught Miss J. her over/under/though prepositions.  Our daily and weekly drives include a number of highway flyovers that just fascinated her, so we started saying "going under", "going over", "we’re through" etc. as we drove along/over/under bridges, flyovers and exits.  It made the drive more fun, and was an easy way to teach these concepts.

Sara’s hack reminds me of a sweet memory from my son’s early toddlerhood. We had just finished a long flight together, with me narrating everything, from the passengers around us on the plane, to the food, scenery, and even the sound of the captain’s voice overhead. I’m sure I irritated my seatmates to no end with my perky commentary, but I figured it was better than a screaming kid. After we landed, I sat back, exhausted, and an elderly passed by us as she got off the plane. She paused long enough to tell me what a good mother I was to teach my son about the world with such excitement. "He’ll learn to love the world as you do." It was such a warm moment for me, to have a compliment drop out of the sky like that when I was feeling so worn out.

Comments

  1. Jill in Atlanta says

    Don’t forget to add left and right as well as the names of streets you drive on frequently. We drive down the street labeling each neighbor’s home: there’s Joey’s house, there is Miss Debby’s, and on the right is Candler Street” etc.

  2. Phil says

    Reminds me of listing the colours of cars we passed to my friend’s boy – he loved hearing me try to keep up at 30 mph.

  3. Raye Coleda says

    reminds me of how my then 5 year old son would argue with me when we were on a bridge about whether we were going over a bridge (my opinion) or under a bridge (his opinion, since he could see the supports overhead as we rode on the bridge) :)

  4. says

    I always made sure to do narration of everything when I was helping to raise my younger brothers, so often it’s easy to just fall in to thinking that they’re just “babies” when in reality they’re sponges!

  5. says

    I love to narrate to my kids about what’s going on, especially my baby. Even though she can’t talk back yet, I know she understand so much. I particularly like to have her on my lap somewhere and just quietly comment about things in her ear.

    I’m pretty sure both my girls understand all football & volleyball rules & referee signals by this point.

  6. says

    I just posted a blog about this on my own blog…this idea has backfired in a way. Now m child is SO verbose that he doesn’t shut up ever. I am wondering if I set the tone by constantly talking since the kid was born.

  7. Zed says

    Nancy, I narrated all the time too, and two kids of my kids had delayed verbal skills and one kid had “on time” verbal skills. I don’t think there is a correlation at 16 months (between narrating and verbal skills) and what I’ve read has confirmed that. That being said, what I have noticed is that when they do start talking, they use better vocabulary than their age would suggest, which I think is in fact correlated to conversation, narration, reading, etc. (combined, of course, with whatever genetic predispositioning they might have). Anyway, it’s paid off for us. Keep up the good work!

  8. Rachel says

    To Leslie – I have a 4 year old nonstop talker and I SWEAR it’s due to my habit of narrating.

    But I also agree with Zed, his various preschool teachers have all remarked on his large vocabulary and how much he notices & remembers what’s going on around him.

    We’ll see what happens with my younger one, I don’t really do as much narrating because I always have my hands full with #1.

  9. Rachel says

    To Leslie – I have a 4 year old nonstop talker and I SWEAR it’s due to my habit of narrating.

    But I also agree with Zed, his various preschool teachers have all remarked on his large vocabulary and how much he notices & remembers what’s going on around him.

    We’ll see what happens with my younger one, I don’t really do as much narrating because I always have my hands full with #1.

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