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Many children instinctually use possessive pronouns when they want to signal ownership. For example, when your child is signaling that the toy belongs to them, they may yell "My!" or "Mine!" Let's talk about how we can teach children possessive pronouns, while reinforcing good behaviors so they use them appropriately.
Tips for Teaching “My”
Children learn many foundational speech and language skills during play activities. The ability to interact, imitate, and socialize with parents and peers during playtime creates authentic language-building opportunities that helps budding brains grow their communication skills.
Next time you're playing with your child, try introducing cues to help teach them the possessive pronoun of "My." For example, if you are playing with a baby doll, you can gesture to yourself and say “My baby!” and hug the doll. If you are playing with a toy car, pick it up and say “My car!” while gesturing to yourself.
You can also work "My' into more natural turn-taking situations. If you are rolling a ball back and forth, exclaim “My turn!” Your child can do the same for their turn. This not helps your child learn the value of turn-taking and sharing with the added bonus of teaching possessive pronouns.
Learning the pronoun “Mine”
Similarly, when teaching the pronoun “Mine,” take the opportunity to incorporate it into everyday interactions. I am sure your child often hands you little items throughout the day. If they pick up a flower or stick outside and then hand it to you, you can again gesture to yourself and say “Is that mine? Thank you! This flower is mine!” If they pick a toy off the ground and offer it to you, say "For me? This is mine!"
Children respond well to frequent imitation of a targeted word. So try and find opportunities throughout the day to frequently repeat possessive pronouns. When you start using these tips and activities, you will soon enough hear your kiddo saying “That’s mine” or “My turn!” Who knew a little addition to their vocabulary could give your child so much independence! That’s why every word counts in the world of language! Growing communication means growing independence. Start trying out these tips with your child today!