|Age||Verbal Milestones|| Ways To Participate|
|Toddler||Develop muscular control of their lips and tongues.|
May begin only knowing “mama” and “dada” and in a few months string together phrases to indicate things, such as “Owside” for “Let’s go outside and play.”
|Use simple sentences, especially when you want an immediate response. Your child’s language comprehension has grown. However, she may only recognize a few words in a complete sentence.|
Give your child simple directions to follow, such as “Put the book on the shelf and come here.”
Continue reading daily. Try nursery rhymes because they are great for short attention.
|Preschooler||Start talking more like you—with some quirks.|
Use language to communicate what and how she wants to play.
|Communicate in honest but simplified terms to explain what she can expect to happen, such as “Daddy will pick you up from daycare today” or “Your friend Autumn will be here soon.”|
Teach your preschooler to express her feelings and to use proper manners.
Limit television viewing. The amount of television that your child watches is a personal decision. While making this decision, keep in mind television’s ability to teach language is only a fraction of what you can do one-on-one.
|Kindergartner||Use more complex language skills.|
Ask probing questions that extend beyond her immediate world, such as, “Why do things look small when they’re far away?”
May use language to express negative emotions towards others.
|Ask open-ended questions. Without badgering, prompt your child to explain what she is thinking and doing.|
Answer your child’s questions honestly and in a way that encourages conversation.
Teach your child that cruel words are never allowed and help her to rephrase negative statements about others.
Listen. Taking time to listen carefully and frequently communicates that you value her and her ability to communicate.
Keep in mind that language develops in various ways and at various speeds. Therefore, if other children the same age show signs of greater development, you do not need to be overly concerned. However, be sure to discuss any observations about possible delays with your pediatrician to be sure that an intervention is not needed.