Interacting (37-60 Months) Print
A preschool child is typically able to keep a conversation going for several turns. Be sure to give your child a chance to talk. Encourage him or her to take a turn by pausing and turning to them with an expectant look. Remember that you may have to wait slightly longer for a preschooler to take a turn than you would for an adult.
Another way to encourage a preschooler to take a turn is to ask an “I wonder” question – like “I wonder where this goes?” or “I wonder what the baby wants for dinner?”
Preschoolers may spend part of the day away from their parents but even if they don’t, taking time to talk about what happened during the day can be a great way to practice conversation skills.
During the evening meal or before bedtime, spend time talking about the day’s activities. Try starting the conversation with, “First you did ..., then what happened?” Using words like first, then, and next encourages your child to organize a story about their day.
Preschoolers are interested in playing together with friends, but it is still important for you to take time to play with your child. Remember that your child learns 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.”
Singing songs and saying rhymes can be a great way to have fun together and many songs and rhymes help preschoolers to learn about sounds, build vocabulary, and develop memory. Just remember to keep the focus on fun!
Your preschooler is learning how to tell stories that have a beginning, middle, and end. You can help by reading stories together that have a clear sequence of events.
When you read a story about a familiar event, or are rereading a book that your child has heard several times, try stopping and asking your preschooler what will happen next.
Sometimes for fun, you can make a guess that’s wrong, “Next, they go swimming” and have your preschooler correct you, “No they don’t. They go home!”
Preschoolers often love to go on outings with their caregivers. Remember that a child’s first experience with a new place can be somewhat overwhelming.
You can make these first times easier for your child by talking about what will happen before you go. Then when you are there, talk about what is happening. After you get home, remember aloud with your child about all the people and things they saw and about what happened.
For example, three-year-old Avery had never been to a hockey game at a big arena before. Before they went, her parents talked with her about how they would need to wait in line to pick up their tickets, how they would go in through turnstiles, and how they would need to take an escalator up to find their seats. They talked about how busy and noisy it might be and they reminded her that they would keep her safe. On the night of the game, Avery’s parents watched what she looked at and talked with her about the new things she saw, such as the drink and popcorn vendors and the team mascot. After they got home, Avery’s mom retold the story of their trip to the hockey game as a bedtime story for Avery.
If you talk together about the same events over and over again, your child will come to understand and feel more comfortable in the situation. While some children seem to need this strategy more than others, all children benefit from discussing events. They learn how to clearly share information with others.