Child Developmental Topic Language and communication skills Stages: 25 to 36 months

What’s going on for baby?

During this stage our tamaiti will be communicating more. They will continue to understand a lot more than they can say, but their expressive language (what they can say) will be increasing.

As well as using their voice, they will be getting their message across with gestures, body language and facial expressions.

They will be using more single words, and they will also combine words more often. This could increase to about 4 words in a short sentence. For example, ‘Go park car now’.

Often they will miss out the smaller words which are not essential to get the meaning across, such as ‘to’, ‘in’ or ‘the’.

Having interested people to communicate with, and things to explore and communicate about, is necessary for their on-going language development.

They will ask lots of questions because their enquiring minds want to know about many things. Their questions will usually start with ‘what’, ‘where’ or ‘why’.

How can parents and whānau help?

  • Enjoy having lots of conversations with their child.
  • Help their child speak correctly in their family’s language by agreeing with them and repeating the correct version back to them. This technique of modelling, rather than pointing out mistakes or correcting their grammar, will encourage them to keep communicating.
  • Continue to share stories, books, rhymes and songs, as these will all enrich their language.
  • Enjoy creative and expressive activities like music, singing and pretend play.
  • Enrol their child in, and visit, the local library.
  • Welcome questions — their child is exercising their curiosity and this will feed their mind.
  • Sometimes say ‘What do you think?’ or ‘Why?’

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