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How to encourage language in 4-5 year olds

What skills develop between 4 and 5 years of age?

These are some general abilities you should expect to see your child accomplish between 4 and 5 years old.

  • Understands words relating to order (such as first, next, last) and time (such as yesterday, today, tomorrow)

  • Follows longer and more complex directions with 3-steps or multiple features

  • Understands almost everything that is said around them

  • Says all speech sounds in words, although some mistakes may be heard on harder sounds like l, s, r, v, z, ch, th, sh

  • Names letters and numbers

  • Uses sentences with more than one action word

  • Tells short stories

What can I do to help my child’s language skills develop and build between 4 and 5 years old?

  • Talk about opposites and spatial relationships (first/middle/last).

  • Take turns playing games like “I spy.” Describing items and also having your child describe items are great language-builders.

  • Ask your child to give you directions for a simple task while you follow them.

  • Enrich your child’s vocabulary by naming and describing new concepts and items.

  • Encourage your child to ask for clarification when needed.

  • Talk about categories, especially subcategories. Why are items similar or different?

  • Have fun with imaginative play.

  • Make predictions while reading stories. Ask your child comprehension questions about the stories.

  • Play simple board games.

  • Involve your child in decision making and planning.

If you’re concerned about your child’s language or speech development, please call and set up a free consultation at (253) 237-3405. This post concludes our developmental norms series, thank you for following!

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