By your child’s fourth birthday, his language skills have developed a lot. He enjoys talking and asking questions, even if he makes some mistakes. Here are some play ideas to help pre-schoolers with talking and language.
What to expect: pre-schoolers and talking
At 3-4 years, your pre-schooler will probably:
be able to ask more complex questions and speak with better but not perfect grammar
say sentences with five or six words.
By five years, your pre-schooler will probably:
be able to say her name and address
be able to speak clearly using sentences of up to nine words
have meaningful conversations and tell you detailed stories.
Your pre-schooler is likely to be keen to talk to you, his friends and other family members as much as possible in these years. It’s really good for your child’s language if you listen and talk with him.
In fact, children at this age often have so much news to share that they sometimes stumble over the words and get frustrated – this is common and OK. Just give your pre-schooler time and keep listening. Your child will get the words out eventually.
Play ideas to encourage pre-schoolers with talking
At this age children still need lots of practice and support to develop speech and language. The more often you talk with or around your pre-schooler, the more words she’ll learn and use to communicate.
The best way to encourage your child’s language skills is to focus on fun activities like singing songs or reciting nursery rhymes, rather than getting pronunciation or grammar right.
Here are some ideas to encourage talking through play:
Read aloud together. You could also try taking your child to story time at the library where he can listen to stories being read.
Tell stories together: your child will enjoy hearing stories. She’ll also like remembering and telling you simple stories. Leaving out words in stories and asking your preschooler to fill in the words is fun too.
Sit down and talk with your child, taking turns to listen and respond.
Sing songs together.
Play stories and songs in the car.
Tell simple jokes and riddles. Pre-schoolers usually enjoy simple word games, including finding rhyming words and even making up words.
All children develop at different rates. But if you’re concerned about any aspect of your child’s development, including his talking and language development, it’s a good idea to talk with your child’s educator or visit your health professional.
Children aged 2-5 years should have no more than one hour of screen time a day with adults watching or playing with them. Too much screen time can affect language development. Screens include electronic devices, tablets, mobile phones, DVDs and TVs.
Video: Connecting and communicating with preschoolers
Watch this video and learn the importance of communicating with your preschooler, and how it helps her learn and develop.