4 Strategies for Expanding Your Child’s Grammar Skills

by Mary Stanton, MS, CCC-SLP

While listening to their children speak, parents may notice errors, missing words, and sentences that just don’t quite make sense. Children often get frustrated or impatient when they’re asked to repeat a sentence correctly, but the good news is that there are other strategies for expanding your child’s grammar skills for kids of all ages and stages of language development.

  • Expansion – If your child is combining two or three words to form sentences, try expanding on their words to show how they can build longer sentences. For instance, a child’s request “more juice” can be expanded into, “Sure, I’ll put more apple juice in your cup.” For older children, you can add clauses starting with words like “because,” “and so,” or “then” to encourage them to add to their original thought.
  • Modeling – Demonstrate proper grammar to your child when responding to their sentences. For example, “me want train” could be answered with a comment like “I want the train too! Let’s go play with it…” to model what their sentence should sound like without directly correcting it or making them say it again.
  • Bombardment – When you notice that your child consistently makes the same type of error, you can try providing examples of accurate grammar throughout the day. To a child who says things like, “We going to the store,” sentences like “We are going to school,” “We are setting the table,” and “We are walking to the park” would review the concept through repeated correct examples.
  • Activities – Being playful is another great way to practice sentence formulation. Kids may enjoy songs, make-believe, and storytelling involving variations on the same sentence or repetitions of a grammatical concept, with your guidance.

By using natural communication strategies like these that fit into your everyday interactions with your children, you can sneak in some extra grammar practice and support their sentence construction skills in a meaningful way.

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