Children's word of the year unveiled

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

The children’s word of the year for 2021 has been revealed as “anxiety”, reflecting the mental health and wellbeing challenges caused by the pandemic.

The annual research from Oxford University Press involved more than 8,000 children from years 3 to 9 who were asked to choose the most common words they would use when talking about health and wellbeing – the theme selected by researchers in light of the pandemic.

Almost a quarter of the children chose anxiety as their number one word. “Challenging came in second, chosen by a fifth of the respondents, closely followed by isolate”,“wellbeingand “resilience”.

The word of the year has long reflected the influence and impact of media news stories and important topics of conversation in the adult world on our young people.

The 2020 word of the year was, unsurprisingly, “coronavirus”, and this followed “Brexit” in 2019, “plastic”in 2018, “trump” in 2017, “refugee” in 2016, and “#hashtag” in 2015.

The 2021 research also asked teachers from across the 85 schools for the word they use most often when talking to their pupils about health andwellbeing in the context of the past year. Almost a third chose resilience”.

In response to the latest findings, the children’s Language department at OUP has published the Oxford Children’s Language Report 2021 and will be updating their dictionaries and resources to support teachers and pupils in both primary and secondary schools.

Words such as bubble and lockdown will be revised to reflect current usage in relation to the pandemic and new phrases such as self-isolationwill be included.


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