Language Development: 2 to 4 years old: Tips for Talking

Young children learn language mostly through conversations with other people. The key is to listen to what they have to say and continue the conversation from there. If you child says ‘I did painting at playschool’. You could reply ‘You did a painting? That sounds fun! What did you paint?’. This reassures them that what they’ve said was correct and encourages them to go on talking. Don’t discourage children by critisizing their mistakes or trying to stop them using baby language. If they get a word wrong, simply repeat the their sentence back to them correctly and expand on what they’ve said. For example if your child says ‘Granny buyed me cupcake’, you could reply,’ She brought you a cupcake? You are very lucky! Did it taste good?’.

When a child is talking to you, you can show them how to take turns in conversation by listening carefully to what they are saying and then responding. Allow the child to speak and don’t rush them or finish their sentences for them. Try to be patient with the endless questions. Try to answer their questions at a level they will understand. Give them plenty of opportunities to talk to other children of the same age. This will improve their listening ability and their conversational ability 10 fold.

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