Talk and Learning

The importance of Talking

Communication is a crucial way to ensure you form an ongoing relationship with your child. There are many benefits to regularly sharing your thoughts and ideas with your children, and giving them an opportunity to voice their opinions. Here are just a few ideas for the younger children:


  • Talk a lot to your child. This will help your young child learn new words.

  • Read to, and with your child every day. Point out words you see.

  • Point to signs in the shops, in the house, and outside.

  • Speak to your child in the language you know best.

  • Listen and answer when your child talks. This is not always possible, but make sure they know you have heard them and explain that you will have a chat as soon as you can.

  • Get your child to ask you questions. Very annoying when they reach 'that age', but a terrific way to develop their ideas.

  • Give your child time to answer questions. Children need time to form their answers.

  • Set time limits for watching TV and using computers. Use the time for talking and reading together.


Your little bundle of joy is growing fast. They are learning a lot about the world around them.

There is still so much you can do to help.  They still need to learn through play and having fun. They still need encouragement and support from the adults that are important to them. Talking about what they are doing helps them develop their ideas.


Work with their interests. Some children like cars, some like cooking or pretend play, some children like drawing and writing, some children like making things --- and the list goes on.

Show interest in their interests. 



You can support their learning by

  • Talking about colours, shapes etc as they are playing

  • Talk about what you want to do next

  • Talk about events that happened yesterday

  • Discuss what they would like for dinner

  • Talk about why it's important to wash your hands

  • Showing an interest in the topic and discussing it with them

  • Finding books to read together about the subject they are learning

  • Helping them research

  • Finding out about the topic yourself so you know how to answer the questions when they're asked.


And the list goes on and on - But to do all of this you have to talk...


Some Possible Causes of  Language Disorders in Young Children

You may not know for sure what caused your child's language problems. Some possible reasons might be:

  • Other people in your family having language problems 

  • Being born early 

  • Low birth weight 

  • Hearing loss 

  • Autism 

  • Down syndrome or Fragile X syndrome 

  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder 

  • Stroke 

  • Brain injury 

  • Cerebral palsy 

  • Poor nutrition 

  • Failure to thrive

See Communication Disorder for more information about this.


Ages and stages

The Importance of Talk

5  years

Your home is very important in regard to learning. Your child will improve their vocabulary and speech by hearing how words are used in everyday life. Talk to your child and ask them questions. Encourage them to ask you questions. All of this will build up their skills.

Some things you can do to help:

  1. Ask your child to retell a familiar story. This will help them to put ideas in order.

  2. Ask questions that need more than a 'yes' 'no' answer.

  3. Talk about numbers - How many? What is one more? etc

  4. Play counting games - cook and measure out the ingredients - look for number when out and about, etc

  5. Talk about time and use time words

  6. Encourage your child to read things around them like cereal boxes and signs

  7. Read with your child - even if that means you do most of the reading and your child reads some of the words that they are already familiar with.

  8. Work on puzzles together like mazes and dot to dots

  9. Find opportunities to do real writing like making a shopping list and writing birthday cards​

  10. Practice writing their name by getting them to trace  over the dots


 5 - 7 years

Oh, the joys of 5 to 7-year-olds. It's all questions that seem to be impossible to answer. Be positive because your child learns his/her attitude about life from you.

Talk about what their learning and what they want to learn next. Encourage them to talk about how they feel. Talk about their feelings (good and bad).

How can I do more?

Talk about the things you see around you and their colours. When you are out and about name the things you see. Explain new words, show shapes that you see around you. Talk about animals as you point them out in a book or if you see them out and about.

If you cannot answer their questions - then be honest. Your child needs to know that you don't know everything, and that's OK. 

Talk about how you could find the answers.

Just keep talking and listening.



8 - 9 years

Your child learns very quickly at this age. They want to know about everything they see and do.

You can help them make more sense of the world and how they fit in it by talking to them. There it is again TALK.

Talk about their interests and opinions and really listen.

Children at this age talk about past, present and future events. In reading aloud they use different tones of voice to show meaning and feeling. They use longer and more complex sentences when they are speaking. They like to try out different words and concepts. 

Some things you can do to help

  1. Listen to your child reading in short regular sessions. Encourage your child to read with expression. This will help them read more fluently.

  2. Encourage your child to write in their daily lives - birthday cards, telephone messages and keeping a diary. Play word games – ‘Stop the bus’ and ‘I spy’ with a letter - board games – Cluedo and Junior Scrabble and card games – Old Maid, Rummy with your child.


10 - 12 years

At this age, children use language in many different ways - to explain, describe, question and share. They ask questions and discuss ideas and information to communicate and develop their thinking and learning. 

Building it into your day

At this age, your child is likely to know what they like and will want to follow up on their interests. Interacting with your child throughout the day and giving them opportunities to practice what they’re learning through real-life situations can make a big difference. You can help them to find books, look up information, write about things they like and do activities that reflect what they are interested in through everyday activities.

Some things you can do to help

  1. Chat to your child – ask them to show you something interesting they have learnt from their friends or on the internet.  Talking and listening helps build their communication skills particularly when they feel that you listen to them.

  2. Involve your child in maths you do every day - shopping, discussing time and dates, budgets, DIY and cooking.

  3. Be encouraging about what your child is reading and try not to be too judgemental. If they are not reading much, go to your local library for ideas about books. Your child is most likely to read and write about things they are interested in.

  4. Encourage your child to write - shopping lists, cards, and messages for friends - and to use calendars to record what they have done and for planning.

  5. Talk to them about their topic. Support them in their learning by discussion.

  6. Play board and other games with your child. Games such as Scrabble, the TV program Countdown and card games.



This makes it all sound very easy - but in reality we all know when there are times when talking with you child is very difficult. But that we will have a look at another time.


for now just enjoy the chat's when you can.

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