Language Development: 4-5 Years


Your child is hearing more and saying more. Reading is more important than ever to increase their language skills. Word games, songs and rhymes are all helpful. It’s also very important now to turn off the TV and listen to your child.

Consider enrolling your child in a preschool or Head Start program. There are private and public programs available that will allow them additional opportunities to get along with other children outside the home and help prepare them for kindergarten and school. Ask your neighbors and friends about preschool programs. 

4–5 Years 

  • Answers “Who?”, “What?”, “Where?” and “Why?” questions
  • Talks about activities at daycare, preschool or friends’ homes
  • Uses sentences with four or more words
  • Speaks easily without having to repeat syllables or words
  • Has a longer attention span
  • May listen for up to 20 minutes at a time
  • Recites nursery rhymes from memory
  • May repeat “forbidden” (swear) words learned from what he or she hears (TV, videos, adults, other children)
  • Uses comparative adjectives (“big – bigger – biggest”)
  • By age 5, vocabulary may be roughly 2,500 words

The first five years are critical to children’s development as their brains triple in size during that time. Research has also shown that young children who have genuine and meaningful conversations develop larger vocabularies. All of these factors are strong predictors for their long-term school success. As they get older and their language develops, ask open-ended questions which give them the opportunity to respond using more than one-word responses. You will strengthen your relationship with your children while supporting their communication skills and academic success.

Check out these tools from LAUP to help parents and caregivers engage their children in positive, open-ended conversations. "Take Time. Talk!" is now available as a PDF in both English and Spanish. 

Download "Take Time. Talk" - English

Download "Take Time. Talk" - Spanish

Printed materials are also available as a tool in the classroom as well as individual brochures for families to take home. Contact for more information.