The Formidable Fours! Your baby is definitely growing up now!
Wow! Four! Your little one isn’t so little anymore. What a time of nerves you must be experiencing. He or she is either already at school, or becoming increasingly excited for the transition to school. I’m sure you’re excited too, not to mention a tad nervous. It’s not an easy job to wave your child off on their first day of a 13 year journey, however you’ve done a super job at getting them this far!
To begin the school journey on the right foot, a child needs to have a certain set of skills in order to build a foundation for a lifetime of learning. At four, there are a number of milestones that your child should be reaching in order to be ready for academic take off! As speech pathologists, we are particularly interested in your child’s ability to be both social and appropriate, and to communicate his or her needs, thoughts and feelings. We also want to know how he or she is at listening and following directions, so that you can feel confident that they can thrive in a classroom environment. As a side interest, we want to make sure that your child’s feeding habits and mealtime behaviours are age-appropriate.
To help you understand whether your child is meeting the milestones for four years of age, have a read of the checklist we compiled below.
- Your child should be able to say most speech sounds however there are still some sounds which are later-developing. So don’t be alarmed if your child is having difficulty producing /l/, /r/, /s/, /v/, /z/, /ch/, /sh/ or /th/. These sounds should be acquired between five and six years of age. They should be able to say all other sounds correctly.
- Both familiar and unfamiliar listeners should understand your child all of the time.
- Your child should now know the names of letters and numbers.
- Sentences should now contain one verb, or action word. It is okay if her or she is making some mistakes! English is a tricky language, particularly when it comes to verbs.
- Your child should be able to tell a more complex short story, and answer simple questions based on that story.
- Words that sequence events, like ‘first’, ‘last’, ‘next’ and ‘after’ should be understood by four years old.
- Similarly, words which relate to time, such as ‘yesterday’, ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ should be understood.
- Longer and more complex directions should be able to be followed, for example “after you finish dinner, have a bath and brush your teeth”.
If you have any queries about your child’s speech, language or feeding development, feel free to call SpeechEase Speech Therapy on 0423 334 144 to have a chat about your concerns and book in an appointment.