Toddler and Preschooler minds have the amazing ability to soak up language like no other time in their lives. Communication is a skill that children begin to pick up in infancy, but it isn’t until the ages of 2-5 that these skills blossom with practice. Preschooler words don’t always mean what they think they mean, though.
Me: Mom, is your oven still pre-heating?
Mom to Me: If the icon is still spinning, it’s not done pre-heating yet.
Preschooler (watching icon spinning): It’s still loading.
Sometimes they have the right idea, but the wrong words.
Preschooler (pointing accusingly to cactus): That plant BIT me!
Other times they have the right words, but wrong idea.
Preschooler: Mom, go faster!
Me (pointing to policeman that pulled another driver off the road): I can’t go faster. You see? That policeman will give me a ticket.
Preschooler (bouncing with excitement despite the car seat): A ticket?!? To where?!?
Quick-forming connections make an over-abundance of associations.
Boys: Look! Tonight is a Super Moon!
Preschooler: Yeah! Superman Moon!
Preschooler: Look mom, it’s Batman Moon!
They don’t understand what every word means, so they have to use context clues.
Me to Boys: Make yourself a sandwich, but stay out of your sister’s way, because she is baking something complicated.
Preschooler: Something complicated?!?
Me (too distracted to explain what ‘complicated’ means): Yes, ‘complicated’.
Preschooler: Mmmmm, sounds delicious!
Sometimes, it’s the logic and not the words that throw us for a loop.
Preschooler (bouncing with Post-it notes stuck all over his body and hands): Look mom!
Me (cooking dinner): Are you in my room?
Preschooler: No, I in the kitchen.
Abstract ideas, hearing-exams for example, are just plain over their heads.
Nurse: Raise your hand if you hear the *beep* in your ear.
Preschooler: Umm, turn it up a little bit.
The mistakes toddlers and preschoolers make with language are often humorous, but the way they grapple with and conquer language so quickly is astonishing. There are any number of ways to help your preschooler find mastery over words. Words, after all, carry a certain amount of power. Check out these resources for ideas on how to give your preschooler words: Early Language Development; Meaningful Conversation; and Pinterest Activities.
Let me know how your Preschooler Words have made you laugh!