Preschoolers and kindergarteners are effective communicators.

Language Development in Four & Five Year Olds

by Nicole Crawford

Your child's speech and language may not be perfectly developed by age 4 and 5, but it's close enough for her to be quite the chatterbox. Four- and 5-year-olds tend to be inquisitive, and they love to learn new vocabulary and other concepts. Encourage your child's language development with interactive games and plenty of conversation.


By the time your child is 4, she will probably be able to speak in complete sentences -- all the time, in fact! Being bombarded with constant questions is a common experience for parents of 4-year-olds. Your 4-year-old can probably identify different shapes and colors at this point, and she might even have an imaginary friend. She should also be able to speak in complete sentences and use expressions like "who" and "why" appropriately. She may still struggle to pronounce certain sounds.


Five-year-olds are usually able to use compound and complex sentences to express themselves, and may even understand basic phonics. Usually by 5, children know the letters of the alphabet and are able to use descriptive language and tell stories. As noted by PBS, the 5-year-old child tends to be a problem solver, and enjoys speaking in a group setting. They tend to demonstrate more interest in social activities than they did during the preschool years.

Helpful Activities

At this age, children learn primarily by interaction with caregivers. Help your 4- or 5-year-old develop her language skills by asking her questions and reading books frequently. Kids of this age group enjoy discussing spatial relationships and playing guessing games. You can also help your child build her language skills by asking her to "read" you a story, or give you directions for a game. Allowing your child to help you with some activities around the house, such as sorting laundry or putting away the clean dishes, can also encourage language development.

Signs of Delay

If you see signs of language delay in your child, contact a professional to guide you. Children learn at their own pace, and it's important to have the input of an expert to distinguish between genuine delay and a late bloomer. As noted by the University of Michigan, you should also have your child's hearing checked if she seems to exhibit signs of delay. Keep in mind that language delays are different from speech delays, which are related to the sounds that come out of your child's mouth rather than the meanings of sounds.

About the Author

Nicole Crawford is a NASM-certified personal trainer, doula and pre/post-natal fitness specialist. She is studying to be a nutrition coach and RYT 200 yoga teacher. Nicole contributes regularly at Breaking Muscle and has also written for "Paleo Magazine," The Bump and Fit Bottomed Mamas.

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