It can be really worrying when trying to have a conversation with your child and they are not answering. There may be many reasons why this may be happening, one reason is to do with their understanding of questions.
Children typically develop understanding of questions up to 6 years old. We naturally ask questions as part of our conversations with children but it can be surprising when we don’t get an answer that makes sense. To understand why this might be, it’s helpful to know which questions are harder, we typically say that understanding of questions develops by:
- Choice questions- do you want an apple or banana?
- yes/no questions
- What questions
- Where questions
- Who questions
- When questions
- Why questions and how questions
Questions are a good way of gaining your child’s perspective on the world but often if a child is quiet, we can over-compensate by asking too many questions. It’s really important to balance these questions with other ways of speaking to them:
- Questions: try to make sure that you question is at the child’s level, if you ask a question that your child does not know the answer to, try giving choices or re asking a question further down the mountain.
- Commenting: this means talking about what they are doing, or what you are looking at together, this could be ‘you’re driving the train’, try to keep this slightly longer than what they would normally say.
- Repetition: it’s really good for your child to hear you repeating something they have said, it helps them know that you are listening and that it is a good thing to say again. It’s also a good idea to help them it they have made a mistake by repeating it back correctly e.g if they say ‘I breaked it’ you could say ‘you broke it’
- Expansion: this means that you are adding one extra bit onto their sentence, if they say ‘i see a bird’ you can say ‘I see a big bird’
- Explanations: help your child understand more of the world around them by explaining what is happening.
If you would like more advice or assessment on your child’s understanding of language with next steps, please contact our team on 0330 088 2298.
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