Communication is the way we connect and interact with people. It is part of our identity and culture. It helps us to learn, interact with others and to make friends. In this section you'll find information about typical communication development in young children and ideas for supporting them (in the 'tips' section of each page). You'll also find suggestions about what to do if you are worried about your child's communication development.
Communication is much more than words. Communication is the way we connect and interact with people. It is part of our identity and culture. It helps us to learn, interact with others and to make friends.
Get face to face with your baby. Reduce background noise when playing and talking with your baby. Copy your baby's babbling and take turns in a 'conversation'. Talk to your baby when doing things together.
Play with your child - join in with what they are doing or what interests them. Make sure you're face to face when playing with your child - you may need to sit on the floor. Share your family's stories, songs/waiata and poems.
Give your child plenty of time to speak. Focus on what they are saying, not how they are saying it. Have fun reading books. Involve your child with lots of everyday routines – talk about what you're doing.
When your child says something that is not clear, say it back for them so they hear it the right way rather than asking them to repeat it. Have fun with words and sounds. Talk with your child about exciting things that are going to happen.
Communication skills are strongly linked to the development of reading and writing. The better a child's conversational skills now, the easier it will be for them to understand what they read later on.
If your child is having difficulty with their voice, try to reduce situations where your child is yelling or talking over the top of noise. Encourage periods of quiet activities to give the voice a rest.