Helping Your Child Understand Past, Present, and Future Tense

by Christine Chadwick

Using correct grammar is essential for understanding a language and being able to communicate effectively. For many children, verb tenses can be especially difficult to master. If your child is having difficulty with the past, present, and future, try some of the strategies discussed below to help him/her master these verb tenses.

Talk About Daily Activities

If your child is having trouble with verb tenses, one of the most basic strategies is to simply talk with him/her about daily activities. For instance, when the child is in the water for bath time, say, "You are taking a bath." Once the child is out of the tub, dried, and clothed, say, "You have taken a bath." Make this sort of commentary for different situations throughout the day. This strategy may seem silly, but repetition is a useful learning tool.

Use Visual Aids

Children often respond well to visual learning aids. To help a child understand past, present, and future tenses, use pictures. The pictures could be in a book, or you and your child could draw the pictures together. To utilise this strategy, show your child a picture illustrating each tense. For example, show him/her a picture of a person who will swim, followed by a picture of the person swimming, and finally a picture of the person who finished swimming.

Role Play

Another strategy that children respond to and have fun with is role playing. This strategy makes learning interactive, which enhances learning. You can use stuffed animals, toys, or yourselves to act out the verb tenses. For example, have a race with your child. Before the race starts, say, "We will run the race." While running, look at your child and say, "We are running the race." At the finish line, say to your child, "We ran the race."

Read Out Loud

If your child is experiencing trouble with verb tenses in writing, tell him/her to read aloud during the writing process. Alternatively, you can read aloud to your child. Often, hearing will enable children to identify any incorrect grammar.

Using the past, present, and future tenses correctly is important because it affords clear understanding. Many children struggle with these verb tenses, but don't despair; just make some fun out of learning, and your child will grasp these verb tenses in no time.

Tags: English verb tenses
Categories: English