3 - 5 years language development
Although by the age of three, many pre-schoolers are beginning to use more complicated words and sentence structures, don’t be fooled into thinking that they understand sophisticated language or abstract concepts; actually the opposite is true. Pre-schoolers only work with concrete ideas and they are literal thinkers - if you say that there’s nothing to eat in the house, your pre-schooler may take this as literally being true, making him unnecessarily anxious about where his next meal is coming from!
- He will do most of his language learning through play and in everyday scenarios, so when you’re about to embark on a trip to the bank or supermarket think about what you can do to enrich the experience – count the number of aisles in the shop, or how many people are in the queue in front of you, or teach him a nursery rhyme while you wait to be served.
- He is starting to think logically and beginning to understand that events follow a sequence through time.
- He is learning to articulate his needs by expanding his vocabulary to include words with specific meaning.
- He is using his vocabulary to understand the world he lives in – this is when the handy word ‘why?’ becomes popular.
- He wants to gain some independence by making some of his own decisions.
- He loves to listen to and tell stories – the same ones over and over again! He will also love hearing stories about when you were little, and even better, when he was ‘little’.
- He will try to make sense of his world by developing his own theories (which are often hilarious) about why things happen – when he hears thunder, it’s two angels yelling at each other.
- He will process what he hears around him during the day by mimicking other people’s words in play – this is often either very amusing or slightly embarrassing!
- He doesn’t understand sarcasm and he doesn’t like the idea of you making fun of him, so be careful with your jokes (particularly with puns) because they can very often backfire and end in tears.
Pre-schooler body language
Even though your pre-schooler is now mastering verbal language at an amazing rate (and only seems to stop talking when he’s asleep), he will still rely heavily on body language as a means of communication. To understand things, he will rely on:
- facial expressions
- tone of voice
He will also communicate how he is feeling through self-expression in play and art.
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