Quick tips for helping kids find the right word
- Quick tip 1Relax and reassure.Relax and reassure.
Kids often have more trouble finding words when they’re stressed. Let them know it’s OK to get “stuck” or to make mistakes with words sometimes. Give them plenty of time to respond, and don’t put them on the spot.
- Quick tip 2Find a similar word.Find a similar word.
Ask, “Can you think of another word that’s similar to the word you’re thinking of?”
- Quick tip 3Use descriptions.Use descriptions.
Encourage kids to close their eyes and describe what they see when they’re trying to think of the word.
We’ve all had that frustrating, tip-of-the-tongue moment, when the word we need just won’t come to us. We know the word. We’ve used the word. And we’re sure it’s in our head somewhere. This is known as trouble with word finding, or word retrieval.
We tend to associate this challenge with adults, especially as they get older. But kids can have word finding problems, too.
Like adults, all kids have trouble with this once in a while. But some kids struggle with this a lot. And it can be very frustrating for them.
Sometimes word retrieval difficulties can be a sign of something else. Word finding can be hard for kids with language disorders or those who struggle with reading, like kids with dyslexia.
Problems with word retrieval can also be a sign that kids are struggling with focus. It’s also common in kids who have had a brain injury, like a concussion.