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Helping your 4 to 6 year old’s speech development

Have you or a family member expressed concern about your child’s speech development? Do you think they might need speech therapy? Be sure to talk to your physician or a qualified speech therapist about your concerns but there are many ways you can help your child learn to understand and use words.

If you want to know more about speech milestones and the categories of speech development, see our article here.

Whether your child is currently getting speech therapy or you are considering that option, don’t forget that you can be your child’s best teacher. If you have a 4 to 6 year old, review the table below to better understand how to help their language and speech development.

It is important to remember that there is no correct starting time for these skills and children develop differently. If you are unsure, be sure to talk to your physician or a qualified speech therapist. Our professional speech therapists offer free screenings via Zoom – signup below if you are interested in finding out more.

Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development – 4 to 6 years old
Pay attention when your child talks to you. Make sure to get their attention before you talk to them. Remember to pause after speaking to give them a chance to respond.
Guessing games are a great way to play. Describe something and let your child guess the answer. Say – “It is cold, sweet, and good for dessert. I like strawberry” – so he can guess “ice cream.” Try something like – “We use it to sweep the floor,” – and have him find the broom. 
Demonstrate that you understand his or her words when your child talks to you. Praise them for expressing themselves.
Help your child follow two- and three-step directions. An example might be – “Go to your room, and bring me your book.”
Turn it around and ask for directions from them. Follow her directions as she tells you how to create a house or tower using building blocks.
Keep helping your child learn new words. Say a new word, and tell him what it means, or use it in a way that helps him understand. For example, you can use the word “vehicle” instead of “car.”  You can say, “I think I will drive the vehicle to the store. I am too tired to walk.” 
Use words like “first,” “middle,” and “last” or “right” and “left.” to show how something is arranged. Try using the words “up” and “down” or “on” and “off” to demonstrate opposites.
Play “house” by letting her be the parent, and you pretend to be the child where she gives you directions on what to do. Talk about the different kinds of rooms and furniture in the house. Make sure to use the room and furniture names.
Work on groups of items, or categories. Find the thing that does not belong in a group. For example, “A shoe does not go with an apple and an orange because you can’t eat it. It is not round. It is not a fruit.” 
Go grocery shopping together. Talk about what you will make so that you can talk together about what things you need to make it. Talk about sizes, shapes, and weight. 
Talk about the foods on a menu and their color, texture, and taste when in the kitchen. Talk about where to put things. Ask him to put the napkin on the table, in your lap, or under the spoon. Ask about who the napkin belongs to as in –  “It is my napkin.” “It is Daddy’s.” 
Watch movies together on TV or a tablet. Talk about what your child is watching. Have her guess what might happen next. Talk about the characters. Are they happy or sad? Ask her to tell you what happened in the story. Act out a scene together, or make up a different ending.

Are you concerned about your child’s speech development? We are qualified speech therapists and can help. Contact us and receive a free screening on Zoom.

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