Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60 Months

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parent tips

Language (25-36 Months)click to print Print

Play instead of Teach

Remember that preschoolers still learn best through play. Learning through play can be encouraged by using colours, numbers, letters, and specific concepts like “hot” and “cold” as you play.

For example, you could use colour words in your expansions of what your child says, “You’re making a tree? Yes, you’re making a green tree”. You can count objects that you are playing with as a natural part of the activity – “One, two, three trees. We drew three trees.” You can comment on the letters that you see on toys, such as “Look! This block has a B on it, just like this one does.”

Compare Objects

Comparing objects with your preschooler can help you model lots of new words.

For example, while shopping in the grocery store, have the child help you pick out the yellow bananas instead of the green ones.

Perhaps one bunch has four bananas but you need five? You could ask your child to count the number of bananas in the bunch and then ask, “What should we do? We need five bananas” and talk with your child about a solution.

Talk about the big, bigger, and biggest jugs of milk. Have the child choose the size you want.

Remember to keep it fun. Avoid quizzing your child. Just use the words for how you compare objects and your child will pick them up over time by listening.

Avoid the Pronoun Trap

Many caregivers find themselves caught in an argument with a preschooler who has just something like, “Me did it.” Often the caregiver will say, “Say, I did it” and the preschooler will insist, “No, ME did it!”

One of the best ways to avoid this confusing situation is to simply model the correct pronoun for your child, saying something like, “Tyler said, ‘I did it mom’.”

Model Questions

Preschoolers are really developing their ability to ask questions! They will start with what, where, and who questions. Use these questions yourself when talking with your child. For example, “What can we have for snack?” “Where did we put your shoes?” “Who is at the door?”

If your child is struggling to form a question, model the question for him or her. For example, if a child said, “Who goes store?” a caregiver could model, “Who is going to the store?”

Give Directions in Order

Many preschoolers are still learning about time and have a limited understanding of words like “before” and “after”.

Your preschooler will be better able to follow directions that are given in the order they should be carried out. For example, instead of saying, “Before you go outside, clean up the toys,” try “Clean up the toys, then you can go outside.