Watching your preschooler achieve new growth milestones each day is quite exciting. Milestones like height and weight can be easily measured. But when it comes to measuring age-appropriate language skills, it can be tricky. Most of us start speaking to our little ones right from the moment they are born or sometimes even before to make sure that they already start hearing our voices. As a parent, we are at an advantage of learning how our child is developing their language skills and it should be our effort to make sure that we can support this development during the crucial preschooler age.

If you are wondering whether your preschooler is developing the right language skills and how to support him further, start with knowing what basic listening and speaking skills your child should have at preschooling age.

Listening skills as a preschooler

Between three to four years of age, your preschooler must be able to understand a set of instructions with at least two steps. Direction words like the top, bottom, big and little, must also be understood by them. In addition, they should be able to recognize rhyming schemes. They should be able to respond when someone calls them from another room and must be able to hear or watch TV at normal volumes. Sounds such as car horns, alarm clocks or the beeping of kitchen appliances must be noticed by them and they should respond to it.

Speaking skills as a preschooler

Most preschoolers would have developed the art of speaking basic sentences by this age using at least four or more words. They should also be able to recite a few nursery rhymes and have a general conversation without repeating words or syllables. They must be able to name colors, people, objects, and categories correctly. Your preschooler must have a general idea of when to use I, we, and me correctly.

Although most school curriculum focus on contributing to language development skills, it is just as necessary to encourage and help kids to develop these skills at home. Here are a few ways you can reinforce these skills at home and make sure your child stays on a progressive path.

  • Use proper language and tone when speaking to your toddler. Avoid baby talk.
  • Keep sentences short and simple for them to understand easily.
  • Make sure that every question you or your child asks is met with an appropriate response from your child or yourself respectively.
  • Model good listening behaviour when your child is saying something. For example, make eye contact, appear interested and pause what you are doing to address a statement or question from your child.
  • Ask questions and let your child make a few choices. Ask them to explain why they made a choice. This gives them a chance to explain and form sentences.
  • Encourage your child to use language to express ideas, observations, and feelings.
  • Ask questions that require your child to make and express a choice.
  • Try to enrich and expand your child’s vocabulary by playing word games that requires your child to listen and follow directions.
  • Read and sing stories and nursery rhymes. Discuss them with your child.

Understanding language development in preschoolers is a must to shape their linguistic ability for the future. With Shelley Ortved, Toronto’s well-known speech language pathologist, many preschoolers, teens and adolescents are discovering the benefits of guided speech therapy, language development and social communication development. If you wish to know more about how you can improve your child’s language development or want to book a session, contact Shelley Ortved today at