Going Out on a Limb with Idioms

Idioms are a dime a dozen. Long story short, any list of idioms is just a drop in the bucket. According to Wikipedia, “It is estimated that there are at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language.”

While idioms are not rocket science, they can be very confusing for children who have language weaknesses because they take each word literally. Think about how puzzling the following idioms could be to a child.

  • “It’s raining cats and dogs!”
  • “I smell a rat.”
  • “They are going to tie the knot this weekend.”
  • “Do you feel a little under the weather?”
  • “Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed?”

I could keep listing idioms until the cows come home, but I don’t want to beat a dead horse. I’ll cut to the chase and suggest that you work idioms into your everyday conversations with your child. Here are some examples:

Kid: “I’m hungry.”

Parent: “Me too. I could eat a horse!”

Kid: “What?”

Parent: “I’m starving! I’m so hungry that I could eat a horse. How about you?”

Kid: “Oh. I’m starving too. I could eat a horse.”

Parent: “Great! Let’s chow down!”

Parent: “I’m exhausted. I think it’s time for me to hit the hay. Good night!”

Kid: “Do you want to see what I got Mom for her birthday?”

Dad: “I do.”

Kid: “But you can’t tell her. It’s going to be a surprise.”

Dad: “OK. I won’t let the cat out of the bag. I can keep it a secret.”

Make no bones about it; this is just the tip of the iceberg. You might feel a little out of sorts when you start incorporating more idioms into your conversations with your child, but I think you will pick up on it in a New York minute. I’m not pulling your leg. There is a method to my madness. Practice makes perfect.

Melissa 🙂

Operation game: idioms about the human body

[Infographic provided by Vappingo proofreading services]