At Cherry Bridge Station, we know that our little learner’s language development starts skyrocketing at around 3 years of age. Our educators recognise and encourage this important developmental stage by inviting lots of positive one-to-one and group communications, while our activity-based curriculum includes fun language learning experiences.
Our educators are primed for rooms full of chatterboxes, charged with non-stop questions and repetitive phrases, but for parents and caregivers at home with a chatterer, it can sometimes feel a little relentless. Let’s face it, as parents, we are often juggling a million tasks and stressing about our responsibilities, and trying to supervise and entertain an overly talkative little one at the same time can be rather trying.
It may help just to remember that this perfectly normal and healthy developmental phase will pass, but while in the thick of it we need to be patient and informative listeners, as much as possible!
Preschoolers, usually between 3 and 5 years, are really focused on testing and practising their developing language skills, while also wanting to find out as much as possible about the world around them. This inevitably leads to lots of talking, repetition and questions, but it also means that your child can now begin to communicate their needs and frustrations, resulting in fewer tantrums.
It is important to listen to your child, and show them that you are listening by responding appropriately. Listening to young children as they are going through this important developmental stage lets them know that what they are saying and thinking is important to you; it validates their feelings and strengthens your bond.
Common Preschooler Communication Methods
- Lots of talking, repeating things and asking questions
- Body language and gestures
- Silly noises or crying, and sometimes babytalk
- Pretend play and roleplay
- Arts, crafts and music or dance
- Reading facial expressions, vocal tones and gestures of others
Talking and Listening to Preschoolers
- If possible stop what you’re doing and give your full attention
- Repeat back what they have said to you, to ensure you understand
- Use eye contact and when possible speak and listen at their level
- Smile, nod and validate what they are saying, as you would for an adult
- If possible allow your child to finish their stories or anecdotes, no matter how unimportant they may seem
- If it’s a long story, or you’re out, you can ask if it’s okay to finish listening later on
- Read your child’s body language as they’re speaking, to aid your understanding
- Talk in clear and simple terms that your child will understand
- Avoid indirect speech, such as sarcasm, with young children
- Sometimes you can rephrase things until your child understands
- Use positive praise and encouragement to motivate your child
- Be consistent with your speech and body language, and say what you mean
- Remember preschoolers tend to take things very literally
Answering Preschooler’s Questions
- Take your child’s questions seriously, curiosity is how children learn
- Search out answers together if you don’t already know them
- Ask questions in return, such as, “Really! So, what happened next?”
- “Why?” can be overused by pre-schoolers, but they really do want to know…
Using some of these tips and tricks can help us get through those days where our little motor-mouths never seem to tire, but it also helps to remember that this is such a vital learning phase that we need to be patient, understanding and informative. The time truly flies, and soon we’ll be begging our teens to talk to us more.