Talking with 6-8 year olds

Your child’s talking and listening skills will support them in every part of their early school life.  

Being able to communicate and listen will help them learn how to cooperate and play with their school friends. 

Talking and listening helps them develop their thinking skills. 

Talking and listening skills are also the building blocks for learning how to read and write!

What can kids usually do by 6 years?


  • Answer ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘why’ questions. 
  • Understand two to three-part instructions. For example, “Finish reading your book, talk about the story with the person sitting next to you and draw a picture based on what you talked about.
  • Understand humour and laugh at jokes. 


  • Talk in well-formed sentences and understood by most people.  
  • Retell a story.  
  • Explain why something happened. 
  • Take turns to talk in conversations.

What can kids usually do by 7-8 years?


  • Understand and follow a list of instructions. 
  • Show interest and focus when adults are explaining rules or information to a group. 
  • Recognise when they don’t know a word and asks what it means. 
  • Show interest in what their friends are talking about and can show they understand other people’s feelings.  


  • Talk clearly and are easy to understand. 
  • Take turns to ‘talk, listen and respond’ in a two-way conversation or group discussion. 
  • Use newly learnt words in an appropriate way. 
  • Tell stories that have a beginning, middle and end. 
  • Use their talking skills to resolve conflict and explain their emotions rather than being physical

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 or your 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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