Speech, language and communication for preschoolers

Talking is one of the most important life skills your child will learn. Everyone’s journey is different but if you’re a parent in Oldham, there’s plenty of support and information available to help you and your child on their way to great communication.

Children learn to talk at different rates but by the age 4, they can usually use longer sentences and link them together, answer questions about stories they’ve just read, and explain why something has happened on a basic level. They will still make mistakes with tenses and have difficulty with certain sounds, like “th”, but they should be able to use words like what, where and why, as well as use colour, number and time-related words.

How you can help your child learn

There’s lots you can do such as talking about what has happened that day to help their memory skills, join a child in pretend play, talk about or play games involving opposites or sequences, like “big and little” or using coloured bricks or shapes.

Things to look out for

By age 3-and-a-half, people outside your family should be able to understand your child. If not, you should get help from a speech and language therapist. You should ask fo help if:

  • your child is struggling to turn ideas into sentences;
  • the language they use is jumbled and difficult to understand;
  • they are unresponsive or slow to follow instructions.

What to do if you’re concerned

If your child is in preschool, you could chat to their teacher or key worker about your concerns and they can work with you to make an action plan. Click here to find out about the Well Comm toolkit.  If they don’t attend, you can get advice from the Right Start health visiting team at your local Family Hub or children’s centre.

If you are worried that your child is stammering, there’s a charity that offers information and support. Visit Stamma

Where to find other help and support

  • This website from the BBC has lots of tips and videos about language and bonding, broken down into ages ranging from 0 to 5 years. Visit Tiny Happy People
  • Simple, fun activities for kids from newborn to 5. Find out more at Hungry Little Minds
  • Not sure how to make learning fun? Visit Oldham’s 50 things to do before five
Child playing with sand