Surrounding Your Kids with Good Grammar

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To many, those who care about grammar are among the worst villains of all history. “Grammar Nazi,” they say. Are they jealous? Are they still suffering from some long-ago trauma dealt by someone’s mean red pen? I’ve never been able to figure out if they don’t know they difference between there they’re and their or if they just don’t care. I’m not sure which is worse.

That’s not to say my grammar is perfect by any means. I make errors (a lot), and there nuances in this crazy language of ours that are tough for anyone to grasp. That doesn’t mean, however, that I feel the need to throw caution to the wind when it comes to your and you’re.

If you aren’t in agreement that grammar is important, I don’t necessarily have the time or forum to convince you otherwise (but don’t come crying to me when your recklessness lands you a slew of lost Facebook friends). If you are feelin’ me, however, you know how important it is to obsessively wordsmith your every post. If you love language and all its various ways of being correct, you’ve probably been wondering how you might pass this appreciation along to your offspring. As you may have guessed, we have a few friendly suggestions on the subject.

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Thanks for always clearing things up for us, The Oatmeal.

To teach kids grammar at a young age, you have a few avenues to pursue. You could provide some instruction that will likely go ignored as soon as they get their tiny hands on any kind of keyboard, or you could slip it in by osmosis.

To get kids the basics without them even knowing it, all you need to do is surround them with books and encourage them to read. According to The Guardian, a library of childrens’ literature has plenty of access points to a solid grammatical foundation for even the youngest learners. The article even mentions some great places to start, like That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown.

That rabbit belongs to Emily Brown

If you feel you’ve provided all the educational material you might need (at least for now), feel free to have some fun with it. Don’t miss a chance promote good grammar habits with a few carefully places pieces of parental propaganda.

The first place to put a little subtle advertising is your own tshirt. Wearing it to an important birthday party will sweeten the deal – think of all the photo ops!

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Owls are all the rage these days, but there’s no shame in using something popular to promote an important message. Snag this shirt (and other witty grammatical accoutrement) from Etsy store GrammaticalArt.

Until your little grammar rebel hits the teen years, no one is going to be important to that kid as his or her mommy. It may be underhanded, but using their love to get your point across may be necessary in extreme cases. This necklace uses the threat of matricide (and cannibalism) to bring it home.

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If the youngest members of your family show a little more regard for grammatical correctness than your tweens, don’t be afraid to tell it like it is with this baby bib.

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Of course, we can’t overlook the simple brilliance of a few well-placed posters directly across from the toilet or breakfast table. Here’s a set of three that we wouldn’t mind using as witty educational aids.

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And while we’re talking about breakfast, let’s not leave out mugs. I can tell you exactly what my dad’s favorite mug looked like from when I was growing up, so if history’s doomed to repeat, why not make sure the mug your kids are staring at when you have your morning brew carries a not-so-subtle grammar lesson? These ceramic mugs from grammarRULES (with hopefully ironic caps) are nice and thick, just like your dad’s old fave.

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