Published On: Thu, Mar 20th, 2014

Words To Take Out Of Your Kids Vocab Now!

Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

BA of Ed Early Childhood and Editor at Mummy Weekly
She's described as one of the most engaging & dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry today, now having educated hundreds of thousands of parents & teachers. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Only About Children, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Child Protection Australia, Goodstart and hundreds of council & private centres. She also developed and ran the popular parenting series for the Australian Financial Review.
Danielle Mantakoul

Words to take out of your kids vocab nowIt is quite amazing how easily children learn the language of their parents. Many of us remember that first word and recall how edible our children were in that moment. Words affect people differently. But I think I can safely say that some words are those that do our kids no favours. While they are acceptable in society, maybe it’s time to set the bar a little higher for our future adults. All of these words below are easy to throw around, but very hard hitting when that is rarely the intention. Here’s my top five words you should ditch NOW.

Fat
Whichever way you look at it, “fat” is a hurtful word when talking about people. Yes yes, I hear you say you don’t call people fat but there is a very good chance you do! Many children have heard their parents talk about themselves as fat in a negative light. This places it not only into their everyday vocabulary, but increases the chance of them talking about themselves as fat even if this is not true. Things can be fat sure, but not people. Words like fluffy and cuddly in my opinion remind me of “the elephant in the room”. We want to teach our kids the right words, words that will be respectful. Suggested substitute: stout, portly, a bigger boy/girl.

Bored
Bored to me is a statement of complaint and nothing more. I often tell my children when I hear this world there is never a reason to be bored. Children are still learning how to express themselves. “What is that feeling I have and what is the word I should use”? Often kids will throw the word bored in because they either can’t express how they feel or it’s a great word to get attention. When our kids tell us they are bored, what do we do? That’s right, we fuss. “Would you like this would you like that”. Bored surprisingly enough becomes an attention seeking tool. Believe it or not, sometimes “I’m bored” means “I’m hungry, I’m tired” or even “I’m jealous”. If your child is using bored because they want something to do, encourage your kids to ditch the bored for either of the last two suggested substitutes. Suggested substitute: hungry, tired, I want to be busy, I’m unsettled.

Ugly
If you think about it, we rarely see truly ugly things yet we use such a strong word as ugly regularly. The biggest problem with ugly is that we tend to use it in the context of ugly thoughts, or an ugly chair, but children while learning language due to a limited vocab tend to use this word to describe people. It should go without saying that when describing people use their characteristics rather than words as ugly or even odd looking. Ouch. If talking about things, try to ditch ugly for a suggested substitute. Suggested substitute: unpleasant or simply not nice.

Secret
Some of you may envisage along with the word secret 4 year old little girls telling each other the cutest of secrets while giggling in the garden. I on the other hand must admit I am a bit of a child protection fusspot. Because of this the word secret grates me like no tomorrow. With a secret it is implied that this is something never to be revealed, a most dangerous notion to a young child who’s moral understanding is not yet fully developed. A surprise on the other hand, is always revealed in time. It starts with you taking secret out of your vocab, it’s simply a little re-training your brain. Suggested substitute: surprise, private, personal.

Hate
I find myself using this WAY too often and kick myself each time. I tend to use it when talking about happenings such as turning the tap on when a spoon is directly underneath it. Don’t you hate that! While I don’t use hate when talking about people, the same problem arises here as it does with the word ugly. Kids hear it, and then use it in far less desirable situations such as when talking about people. I remember being so embarrassed one day when my son told his grandma who made him a banana cake for his birthday, “I hate banana cake”. *Moan* There’s that word used most inappropriately! To combat this I simply made an effort to stop using it. I’m much better these days, but I’m sure the kids can still hear me under my breath. 🙂 Suggested substitute: I don’t like it, not fussed, it annoys me.

If you have any suggestions on substitute words for any of the above, I would love to hear them!

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright 2014
www.mummyweekly.com.au

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