Communication skills are an essential part of your child's overall development. Your child needs to be able to to hear and understand what is being said to them and then use their verbal language skills to respond. In addition, they will learn to aid their communication using non-verbal skills such as body language, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact.
As your child learns to talk, they will start copying how adults talk in conversation. So their voice may go up at the end of a question, or they might start frowning and wagging a finger if they are telling you off.
At 3 years old, they will start learning how to take turns when speaking and you might be able to have a chat with them.
- noting and commenting on their interest e.g. 'wow, what is that?'
- giving them time to respond back to you e.g. pause whilst looking them in the eye.
- actively listening to what they have to say.
- model the correct answer. whilst ignoring what was wrong e.g. if they say whilst looking at a bus 'look, bus', you would respond "yes it is a bus"
- build on what they have said e.g. look it's red bus, what else is red?
Click here to watch a short video with more information.
All children are different when it comes to developing language skills. If you feel there is a difference between your child and other child of a similar age, be reassured that most will catch up. However, it is best to seek professional advice if you see any of the following signs:
When your newborn doesn't:
By 12 months of age if your baby isn't:
By 3 years old, if your toddler:
By 5 years old, if your child:
When starting school:
You should be concerned at any age if your child stops doing what they were previously able to do so.
If you think your child is having trouble with communicating and talking to you, discuss your concerns with a professional such as a health visitor, GP, nursery/school teacher who can provide advice and consider whether they may require a referral to a speech and language therapist or GP.