Abbotsford Early Years

Resources and events for children 0 to 6 years and their families

Communication Skills & General Knowledge

Please note: All children develop at their own rate. This information should be used as a guide. If you have concerns please talk to your doctor or a public health nurse.

Communication development is learning to express ourselves in order to communicate with others. We learn to express ourselves by learning sounds, combining those sounds into meaningful words, and putting words together into sentences to communicate our thoughts.

Communication & General Knowledge Includes:

  • Ability to clearly communicate one’s own needs and understand others
  • Clear articulation
  • Active participation in story telling,
  • Interest in general knowledge about the world.

General Sample Questions:
Can your child tell a short story? Can your child communicate with adults and children?
*Please note: these questions would depend on the age of the child.

Ages & Stages

Find out more about typical developmental milestones for ages 0 to 5 along with activities you can do with your child and red flags to be aware of.

  • Coos responsively, makes gurgling sounds
  • Follow movement with their eyes
  • Have a variety of sounds

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Speak to your baby frequently; call out their name to help them locate sounds
  • Gently rub and massage your baby’s arms, back, legs and tummy
  • Place an interesting mobile above the crib

Red Flags:

  • Show no reaction to sound.
  • Child arches their back frequently.
  • Body posture is floppy or limp.
  • Doesn’t watch things as they move
  • Doesn’t bring hands to mouth
  • Begins to babble
  • Cries in different ways to show hunger, pain or being tired
  • Babbles with expression and copies sounds he hears

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Enjoy cuddle time with your baby
  • Babies learn when you talk about things your baby sees, hears, and feels
  • Encourage your baby to look at you or a toy and get him to follow its movement slowly

Red Flags:

  • Hands are tightly fisted
  • Child moves one arm towards a toy but the other arm remains still
  • Legs are stiffly crossed
  • Infant is not responding to friendly cuddles and care
  • Doesn’t coo or make sounds
  • Smile and babble when given adult attention
  • Respond to own name
  • Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with “m”, “b”)

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Read picture books, talk about the pictures, tell stories
  • Hold a rattle a short distance from bay’s hand and let her reach for it
  • Show actions for “bye-bye” and “blow kisses”

Red Flags:

  • Child squints or an eye is turning in or out.
  • Does not engage in babbling or vocal play
  • Consistently has difficulty with soothing
  • Child seems very stiff, with tight muscles or very floppy
  • Has difficulty getting things to mouth
  • Produce four or more different sounds.
  • Try to imitate sounds and gestures of others
  • Uses fingers to point at things

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Let him feed himself during family meals
  • Provide a variety of safe toys to explore and play with
  • Roll ball back and forth between you encourages turn taking

Red Flags:

  • Stands on tiptoes rather than on flat feet.
  • Has difficulty moving from a sitting position to hand and knees.
  • Child has difficulty crawling, for instance, using only one side of their body.
  • Doesn’t respond to own name
  • Doesn’t look to where you point
  • Begin to say two to three words.
  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Read interactive story books where child can point, imitate and name animals or objects
  • Encourage walking with ride-on toys
  • Have child point to parts of her body when asked

Red Flags:

  • Recurrent ear infections between 6 months and 1 year
  • Child is not yet crawling or pulling to stand at furniture
  • Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”
  • Can’t stand when supported
  • Has trouble grasping small toys with fingers
  • Say words such as “more” or “up” to ask for something.
  • Now has a vocabulary of about 20-50 words
  • Points to show someone what he wants

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Begins to introduce items that encourage imaginative play such a brooms, telephones, pots and pans
  • Do simple shape puzzles and read with your child
  • Expand on what your child says. “car” – “yes, the car is going”

Red Flags:

  • Arms held in a stiff bent position.
  • Does not respond to own name or recognize words for familiar objects
  • Does not show interest in other children or relate to others
  • Child is not yet standing or walking independently
  • Is not yet talking or has lost previously acquired language skills
  • Use many, even hundreds of words and gestures
  • Ask many questions, “What’s this? Where’s my?” Ask for drinks and food
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Teach your child sharing and turn taking within your relationship first
  • Offer simple choices (Do you want milk or water?)
  • Use songs to assist in transitions such a “clean up, clean up”

Red Flags:

  • Up on toes when running,
  • Poor balance or frequent tripping
  • Does not use eye contact or gestures when communicating
  • Unable to follow simple instructions
  • Displays repetitive mannerisms (flapping hands)
  • Children can follow simple directions, for example, “Put your shoes ‘under’ the table or ‘beside’ the door, or ‘on’ the mat.
  • Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences
  • Says first name, age, and sex

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Take your child to a playgroup or preschool where he can learn to interact and play with children his own age
  • Talk with your child about feelings and emotions. Help him learn to identify and name them
  • Provide simple puzzles and sorting games

Red Flags:

  • It is difficult to get child’s attention
  • Avoids contact with other children, plays alone
  • Trip or fall often when walking or running
  • Shows a lack of empathy when others are sad or hurt
  • Drools or has very unclear speech
  • Sing a song or says a poem from memory such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider”
  • Can say first and last name
  • Tells stories

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Encourage your child not to give up on tasks or games
  • When outdoors, talk about things you see and do
  • Teach your child her name, phone number and address

Red Flags:

  • Child’s speech is difficult to understand.
  • Stuttering
  • Does not show any feeling when they hurt others
  • Can’t jump in place
  • Resists dressing, sleeping and using the toilet
  • Children’s words are clearly understood
  • Says name and address
  • Tells a simple story using full sentences

Activities For Your Baby:

  • Draw with your child and talk about her drawing, hang her art in a special place
  • Make an ‘all about me’ book with your child (include things they like, friends, favorite food, games etc.)
  • Tell a story of your child’s life from birth to present

Red Flags:

  • Doesn’t show a wide range of emotions
  • Doesn’t talk about daily activities or experiences
  • Is easily distracted, has trouble focusing on one activity for more than 5 minutes
  • Can’t give first or last name
  • Hurts animals or others on purpose