Communicating with their child is one of the most pleasurable and rewarding experiences for parents.
Children learn by absorbing information through daily interactions and experiences with other kids, adults, and the world. And between the ages of 4 and 5, many kids enter preschool or kindergarten programs, making language competency necessary for learning in the classroom.
The more interactive conversation and play kids are involved in, the more they learn. Reading books, singing, playing word games, and simply talking to kids will increase their vocabulary while providing increased opportunities to develop listening skills.
Here are a few suggestions to improve your child's communication skills:
As kids gain mastery over language skills, they become more sophisticated in their conversational abilities. Kids ages 4 to 5 years can follow complex directions and enthusiastically talk about things they do. They can make up stories, listen attentively to stories, and retell stories.
At this age, kids usually are able to understand that letters and numbers are symbols of real things and ideas, and that they can be used to tell stories and offer information.
Sentence structures may now incorporate five or more words, and vocabulary is between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Speech at this age should be completely intelligible, although there may be some developmental sound errors and stuttering, particularly among boys.
Preschoolers generally are able to make comments and requests and give directions. They should know the names and gender of family members and other personal information. They often play with words and make up silly words and stories.
If you suspect your child has a problem with hearing, language acquisition, or speech clarity, talk to your doctor. A hearing test may be one of the first steps to determine if your child has a hearing problem.
If a specific communication deficit or delay is suspected, the doctor may recommend a speech-language evaluation. A child who also appears to be delayed in other areas of development may be referred to a developmental pediatrician or psychologist.
Communication problems among kids in this age group include:
Some kids will outgrow these problems. For others, speech therapy or further evaluation may be needed. Your doctor will help determine whether your child would benefit from speech and language evaluation and treatment.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2011
|American Speech-Language-Hearing Association This group provides services for professionals in audiology, speech-language pathology, and speech and hearing science, and advocates for people with communication disabilities.|
|Association for Research Into Stammering in Childhood (ARSC) The ARSC is a British organization that funds scientific research into the causes of and treatments for stuttering in children and young adults.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|National Stuttering Association (NSA) NSA offers educational information about stuttering, outreach activities, support groups, and more.|
|Medical Care and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old Regular well-child exams are essential for keeping kids healthy and up-to-date with immunizations against dangerous childhood diseases. Find out what to expect at the doctor's office.|
|Fitness and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old Take advantage of your child's natural tendency to be active. Staying fit can help improve kids' self-esteem and decrease the risk of serious illnesses later in life.|
|Speech-Language Therapy Working with a certified speech-language pathologist can help a child with speech or language difficulties.|
|Hearing Evaluation in Children Hearing problems can be treated if they're caught early, so it's important to get your child's hearing screened early and evaluated regularly.|
|Growth and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old Kids who are 4 to 5 years old continue to learn in a very physical way, but are more focused than when they were younger.|
|Stuttering Many young kids go through a stage when they stutter. Stuttering usually goes away on its own but in some cases lasts longer.|
|Delayed Speech or Language Development Knowing what's "normal" and what's not in speech and language development can help you figure out if you should be concerned or if your child is right on schedule.|
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