Skip to Content
Home > Health Information > Health Library > Encouraging Language Development in Your Preschooler
Children's language development is likely to progress more rapidly when they are given frequent opportunities to interact with both children and adults.
Children who frequently play with others who are about the same age usually develop expressive language skills more quickly than those who have contact only with adults. Young children speak very directly and simply, which helps other children learn speech.
Children develop and improve their speech and language skills by talking with their parents and other adults. These discussions also help children form mental images of people, events, and places, which are important milestones in thinking and learning. Talking with adults introduces proper grammar and complex sentences to children.
But your child can pick up poor grammar too. Your child learns from even very simple conversations. During ages 4 to 5, your child is likely to learn many swear words. Your child will hear adults swear when they are angry or stressed. And your child will find that people react strongly whenever he or she uses swear words. Try to be a good role model and not use swear words. Also, try to get your child to not use swear words.
Parents often gain more insight into their children's feelings and thoughts as language skills increase. Sometimes conversations with young children turn up important fears or anxieties that parents can help manage. Keep calm when your child tells you something disturbing. Children don't always express themselves using the same language as adults. For example, a child may say "Johnny wants me to jump off the building at school" and really mean that he is afraid of using certain equipment on the playground.
Here are some tips to help your child learn new words and use longer sentences:
Reading to your child daily helps him or her to develop speech and language skills. Reading together also offers a time of quiet comfort and bonding.
Limit TV time to 1 hour a day or less. TV doesn't seem to encourage or support children's development of speech or language skills. In general, spoken words make little impression unless they are in the context of a conversation with someone the child knows and cares about.
Current as of: December 12, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: John Pope, MD, MPH - PediatricsKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Current as of:
December 12, 2018
Medical Review:John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
See important information from Billings Clinic on Non-discrimination and Interpreter Services.
Billings Clinic is proud to be an equal opportunity/affirmative action (EOE/AA) e-verify employer.