Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

Communication and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old

Communicating with our kids is one of the most pleasurable and rewarding parts of parenting. Children learn by taking in information through daily interactions and experiences with us and the world around them.

Between the ages of 4 and 5, many kids enter preschool or kindergarten programs, with language skills a key part of learning in the classroom.

How Kids Communicate

As kids gain language skills, they also develop their conversational abilities. Kids 4–5 years old can follow more complex directions and tell you all about the things they do. They can make up stories, listen carefully to stories, retell stories, and say what comes next in a well-known story.

Their sentences include 4 or more words, and their vocabulary continues to grow. Speech should be completely understandable, although there may still be some developmental sound errors (like lisping) and stuttering, particularly among boys.

What Can I Do?

Reading books, singing, playing word games, asking questions, and talking to your kids will help increase vocabulary and improve their listening skills. Here some ways you can help boost communication:

  • Talk about the day's activities.
  • Talk with your child about the books you read together.
  • Talk with your child about the TV programs and videos you watch together and games you play.
  • Keep kids’ books, magazines, and other reading material within easy reach.
  • Help kids create their own "This Is Me" or "This Is Our Family" album with photographs and other mementos.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Talk to the doctor if you’re concerned about your child’s language skills or speech clarity.

By 4 years old, most children can:

  • say sentences with 4 or more words
  • repeat words from a song or story
  • talk about at least one thing that happened during the day

By 5 years old, most children can:

  • tell a story with at least 2 events
  • answer simple questions about a book or story
  • keep a conversation going with more than 3 back-and-forth exchanges
  • use or recognize simple rhymes, like bat-cat

Also call the doctor if you think your child has trouble with hearing, or if you have any other concerns. 

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date Reviewed: 17-05-2022

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.