Communicating with our kids is one of the most pleasurable and rewarding parts of parenting. Children learn by absorbing information through daily interactions and experiences not only with us, but with other adults, family members, other kids, and the world. And between the ages of 4 and 5, many kids enter preschool or kindergarten programs, with language skills a key part of learning in the classroom. Communicating With Your Child The more interactive conversation and play kids are involved in, the more they learn. Reading books, singing, playing word games, and simply talking to kids will increase their vocabulary while providing increased opportunities to develop listening skills. Here some ways you can help boost your child's communication skills: Talk about the day's activities. Talk with your child about the books you read together. Talk with your child about the TV programs and videos you watch together. Keep books, magazines, and other reading material where kids can reach them without help. Help kids create their own "This Is Me" or "This Is Our Family" album with photographs or mementos. Vocabulary and Communication Patterns As kids gain language skills, they also develop their conversational abilities. Kids 4 to 5 years old can follow more complex directions and enthusiastically talk about things they do. They can make up stories, listen attentively to stories, and retell stories. At this age, kids usually can understand that letters and numbers are symbols of real things and ideas, and that they can be used to tell stories and offer information. Most will know the names and gender of family members and other personal information. They often play with words and make up silly words and stories. Their sentence structures may now include five or more words, and their vocabulary is between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Speech at this age should be completely understandable, although there may be some developmental sound errors and stuttering, particularly among boys. When Should I Call the Doctor? If you suspect your child has a problem with hearing, language skills, or speech clarity, talk to your doctor. A hearing test may be one of the first steps to find out if your child has a hearing problem. Communication problems among kids in this age group include: hearing problems trouble following directions trouble asking or answering questions difficulty holding a conversation poor vocabulary growth trouble learning preschool concepts, such as colors and counting stuttering trouble putting sentences together unclear speech Some kids will outgrow these problems. Others might need speech therapy or further evaluation. Back to Articles Related Articles Delayed Speech or Language Development Knowing what's "normal" and what's not in speech and language development can help you figure out if you should be concerned or if your child is right on schedule. Read More Stuttering Many young kids go through a stage when they stutter. Stuttering usually goes away on its own but in some cases lasts longer. Read More Fitness and Your 3- to 5-Year-Old Take advantage of your child's natural tendency to be active. Staying fit can help improve kids' self-esteem and decrease the risk of serious illnesses later in life. Read More Medical Care and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old Regular well-child exams are an important part of keeping kids healthy and up to date on immunizations against serious diseases. Find out what to expect at the doctor's office. Read More Growth and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old Kids who are 4 to 5 years old continue to learn in a very physical way, but are more focused than when they were younger. Read More Speech-Language Therapy Working with a certified speech-language pathologist can help a child with speech or language difficulties. Read More Hearing Evaluation in Children Hearing problems can be overcome if they're caught early, so it's important to get your child's hearing screened early and checked regularly. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.