Language development doesn't just help with language. Good language skills help your preschooler adjust to social dynamics, and prepare her for school and reading. The ability to express emotions through language helps your preschooler cope with the frustrations of life. And of course, preschoolers are infamous storytellers, due in part to blossoming language skills.
If your child is attending school, good language skills help her communicate confidently with her teacher and peers. At this point, most children are able to give their name when asked, and may even know their address and phone number. As noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, your preschooler may have also hit the bossy stage, so teach her good manners to help her be less demanding to friends, teachers, siblings, and even her parents.
Most children don't start reading until age five or six. However, planting a firm foundation in language skills during the preschool years will make reading easier in the future. Read to your preschooler daily and give her access to pen and paper so she can practice "writing." If your preschooler already seems interested in learning the names and corresponding sounds of letters, or if she can already write her letters and sit for a longer story time, take advantage of her interest and start teaching her the basics of reading.
As parents, it helps to know which milestones your child should reach during the preschool years. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, most preschoolers should be able to use pronouns and plurals, speak in sentences of three words or more, follow complex commands, name at least four colors, and actively participate in rhymes and finger plays. By age five, your child should be able to count to 10 and understand basic concepts of time, like "now," "later" and "tomorrow."
When to Seek Help
If you are concerned about your preschooler's language development, seek help from a health professional, such as a speech-language pathologist. Early intervention is key to preventing future problems that can stem from lack of early language development. Rest assured that, with hard work and cooperation between professionals and parents, early language disorders are usually resolved. As noted by KidsHealth, many parents find that a speech-language evaluation simply reveals that their own expectations for preschool language development were too high to begin with!