When toddlers are getting to grips with language they often flit from one topic to another in a stream of consciousness mode. This is very endearing to listen to but it can be difficult to follow and participate in. To help build vital listening skills and to support them as they begin to refine their speech into sentences, a good tip is to use the 5 ‘Ws’ to ask questions.

Who, What, When, Where and Why are a brilliant place to start asking toddlers to explain their ideas and what they are experiencing around them.

I’ve put some examples below which show how useful they can be in toddler conversation:

Little: “I put the hay over there.”

Me: “Oh, WHY have you put they hay there.”

Little: “Because the moo-cows are hungry- their tummies are rumbling.”

Where do you think the snail’s eyes are?

Little: “I rescued Norman Price up the ladder.”

Me: “When did Norman need rescuing?”

Little: “Last year, before the summer holidays, at Christmas when Santa comes down chimney.”

Little: “Oooh aaah aaaah ooh”

Me: “Oh, who is making that noise?”

Little: “The monkey lives in the bin on the way to school. I feed him banana skins and peaches.”

I’ve started a notebook this week, to write such gems in so I don’t forget it all in years to come!

How will you use the 5 ‘Ws’ with your children today?

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