Your child will communicate needs, ideas and thoughts in a variety of ways. As caregivers, we need to foster children's natural curiosity and creativity through discussions, asking and answering questions, and giving choices, helping them to express themselves in ways others will understand.
Tools and Materials
Steps to take
Conversations can be built into your day anywhere you have the time.
If you have 3 minutes
- Give your child choices often throughout your daily routine. Your preschooler understands how to express his/her needs by making these choices. For example, "Do you want to wear the blue, red or green shirt today?" By giving your child choices, asking and answering questions you are laying the groundwork for being able to communicate effectively.
- Ask your child to talk about their creations. When your child builds a structure out of blocks, a sculpture out of play-dough, or draws a picture, say "Look at that! Tell me about what you've created!" After you've given your child an opportunity to speak, ask higher level questions. Some examples of these might be, "Oh you've built a house, who lives inside?, Where will your spaceship be traveling? What does your dinosaur eat?" Continue to ask questions in this way until your child looses interest or the conversation moves in a different direction.
On the Go
If you have 3 minutes
- When picking your child up from school, a play-date, or a visit with grandma, ask your child "How was your day?" When you get the one word answer ("good"), expand on it, your child will quickly learn they need to provide more information. Ask questions such as "Who did you play with? Where did you play?" Sometimes you might get information about social situations such as, "We were playing with the train set and Billy came and took the engine!" This is when you can ask your child questions such as, "How did that make you feel? What would you have done if you wanted the engine?" (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions will get the most language from your child!)
- Encourage your child to ask for what he/she needs in public places-place an order at the restaurant, ask for a book in the library, and ask where the bathroom is.
Words to Know
Who What When Where Why How Names of friends and family Names of familiar places (such as, restaurants, library, describes activities when asked; makes choices; makes stores, bus station, train station)
Responds to questions; participates in a conversation; describes activities when asked; makes choices; makes requests