Talking with 3-5 year olds

Kids at this age are learning new words every day.  

They might be asking lots of questions and starting to count. 

As our kids get older, we often spend a lot of time telling them to do things – put your shoes on, brush your teeth, eat your lunch! It’s important to remember to spend some time to have a conversation as well.  

Everywhere you go together, follow their interests. Talk to them about what they see and what they find. 

What can kids usually do by 3?

  • Understand simple questions about “What”, “Where” and “Who”.  
  • Recognise some basic colours.  
  • Say four to five words in a sentence.  
  • Have a conversation – but may struggle to take turns speaking or stay on topic.  

What can kids usually do by 4-5?

  • Understand most “What”, “Where” and “Who” questions.  
  • Ask lots of questions.  
  • Count to five and name a few colours.  
  • Tell simple stories. 

This is a just a guide for what you can expect. Every child develops at their own rate. Your child may be faster or slower at talking and listening than others.  

If you have any concerns about your child, talk to their teacher, your local child health nurse or family doctor. Find out what to look out for to see if your child needs extra help with speech and communication.

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