4 - 5 Years

  • At 5 years, children are now able to understand sequencing, e.g. first we will eat breakfast and then we will go to nursery. They understand past, present and future tense.
  • Children will choose their own playmates.
  • They are able to take turns in longer conversations and will not need to stop what they are doing to listen and understand what is being said to them.
  • Most speech sounds are clear by.
  • Enjoys jokes.
  • Uses language to compare e.g. bigger.
  • Speech sounds being used at this age: l, sh, ch, s, z, j, r
  • Common/ typical errors heard at this age: Light becomes yight, shop becomes top, chair becomes tair, sun becomes tun, zip becomes dip, jump becomes dump, rain becomes wain


Caregiving behaviours that support the milestone
  • Use open questions with lots of possible answers. “What are you going to play with today?”, “How do you think the character will solve the problem?”
  • Use new words in the context of play and activities.
  • Ask decontextualized questions about past and future activities, “What did you do at the park last week?”, “What will you do on your field trip next week?” Tell your child about things you did in the past and will do in the future.
  • Talk about sounds at the beginning of words and words that start with the same sound e.g. words beginning with ‘p’.
  • Ask your child if they can give possible solutions to problems, e.g. their favourite hat is missing.

Adapted from: EIF Early Intervention Framework with Input from National Literacy Trust and Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists