Helping Your Child with Grammar

Many children see grammar as a boring topic. As a result, parents often find it challenging to help their child improve his or her grammar. But children need constant exposure to correct language uses in order to build a strong foundation. As your child enters the working world, they will find themselves losing out if their language skills come up short.

Children in Singapore often speak a mix of languages every day and can be adept at switching between them. However, it is hard to deny that the most exposure to language often comes from home. Thus, it is important to ensure that you build up your child’s language skills early so they can differentiate proper language use in the right settings, while doing so in fun and interactive ways.

To help, we’ve gathered the various grammar components you may or may not be familiar with. Read on to find out how you can create simple self-made games to strengthen your child’s skills in each!


Tenses help to indicate the time in a sentence, whether something takes place in the past, present or future. An example is “ran”, “run”, “will run”. One way to help your child practise their tenses would be to play a game of Slap It! with different words.

You will need:

2 stacks of cards – one stack with words in the present tense, one stack with the same words in the past tense.

How to play:

  1. Flip over one card from the “present tense” stack.
  2. Take turns to flip cards from the “past tense” stack.
  3. When a correct match appears (e.g. “swim” and “swam”), slap it!
  4. The first person to slap the cards wins that set, and the game continues.

This is a fun game you can play at home with your child. Over time, he or she will be able to remember the proper tenses for different verbs. If the game gets too easy for them, try adding more difficult tenses like past perfect or future perfect tense.


Punctuation is the use of symbols and markings to separate phrases and sentences. Examples are full stops, commas, colons, semicolons, questions marks and exclamation marks. You can get your child to practise their punctuation by through using a Punctuation Box at home.

You will need:

1 empty tissue box with pieces of paper inside. Each piece of paper has a different punctuation mark.

How to play:

  1. Choose 2 pieces of paper from the box.
  2. Get your child to write a sentence using the punctuation marks that were chosen.

This helps your child to focus on their punctuation when writing. This game also gives your child a chance to come up with their own sentences and use their creativity. Guide your child along if they need help.


Conjunctions are words that connect sentences together. Examples are “and”, “but”, “because”, “since” and “while”. Conjunctions can help to make your sentences more interesting and diverse. Show your child how this can be done by playing Link Up! with them.

You will need:

Pen and paper.

How to play:

  1. For this game, both you and your child will write out a sentence separately on a piece of paper.
  2. Show each other what you have written.
  3. Come up with different conjunctions to link the two sentences together. The funnier it is, the better!

If your child needs help, you can provide them with several conjunctions to choose from, and encourage them to pick the ones they think would fit.

Sentence Structure

Sentence structure refers to the arrangement of words and phrases in a sentence. A basic sentence structure would be “Subject-Verb-Object” (SVO). For instance, “I (subject) took (verb) the pen (object).” Children and adults alike often use the wrong sentence structures when they speak, for instance: “Why you never do your homework?” The correct sentence should be “Why didn’t you do your homework?”

Here’s how you can practise sentence construction with your child at home.

You will need:

Pen, paper and a pair of scissors.

How to play:

  1. Write out a few sentences on the piece of paper, and cut them up word by word.
  2. Place each cut-up sentence in a separate pile.
  3. Get your child to form the correct sentence by rearranging the words in each pile.

This is a good way to engage your child in grammar exercises if they do not like to do worksheets or assessment books all the time. If your child wants something more challenging, prepare longer sentences with more conjunctions and adjectives/adverbs.

There are many ways to help your child improve their grammar. If you are looking for something more conventional, try out CPD’s wide range of English assessment books. These books offer extensive practice for grammar topics, especially from Primary 1 to Primary 6 levels. Aside from grammar practices, there are also titles that focus on sentence construction and editing.

For busy parents, you can also focus on improving your child’s speaking habits through everyday conversations. Make it a point to use the correct sentence structures when speaking to them, or if it feels too unnatural, try to point out certain wrong uses of grammar, such as those discussed above. Children learn fast and are easily influenced by the environment around them. Start with small steps to help them build a strong foundation in English today!