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PhDconsult, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3
Experience:  PhD in Early Childhood
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How fluently should my almost 4 year old talk? Should she make

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How fluently should my almost 4 year old talk? Should she make perfect sentences on her own? My daughter struggles to describe her feelings at times...


I will attempt to answer your question!


The rate of language development varies among children. You say that she has difficultly, at times, expressing her feelings. I would say that "feelings" are abstract and this may be why she has a bit of difficulty expressing these. In my experience, sometimes the more creative, visual child will lag a bit in language development. In these children, an important form of communication would be in drawing or rendering pictures. There many reasons why a near-four-year old might not use full or perfectly formed sentences.


And there are many things you can do to help her along in her expressive language. You might suggest words or ask questions. Sometimes parents know their children so well that they may understand what the child is trying to express even before the child has given a full explanation. So it is important that you help your child develop full explanations.


I would worry more if she wasn't trying to communicate in some form or another. Please give me an example of some of the responses she has difficulty expressing.

JACUSTOMER-abki9i9l- : She has trouble using words to explain that there is a ball under the sofa....
JACUSTOMER-abki9i9l- : She points at the ball and says I have no ball or may use totally different words to say that her ball has rolled under the sofa...

Ahhh, she is using the words and concepts she knows to express things.


This shows that she is thinking and discovering a means to express herself. She is not relying upon answers she has heard.

JACUSTOMER-abki9i9l- : I have seen some four years old speak fluently like adults

She sounds creative.


Yes, I have known very fluent 4 year old children as well.


However, the fact that she is expressing herself in terms she has brought together in her own mind is actually wonderful.

JACUSTOMER-abki9i9l- : Do I have anything to worry about

I would not worry. I would enjoy her clever ways of saying things.

JACUSTOMER-abki9i9l- : Thanks

This will pass at a time when she has the words to better express herself.

PhDconsult and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
I hope my answers helped to reduce your fears that your young daughter's language is not progressing as it should! I also wanted to mention that you can help her form her thoughts and language using questions. For example, if she says "I have no ball." you might ask, "Where did the ball go?" It was a pleasure to chat with you. Let me know if you have further questions.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What kind of punishment is best for her age? She is extremely jealous of her 9month old sister,never shares, always takes stuff away from her and at times mimics her behaviour... Any suggestions?

At three years of age, children are still quite ego centric and thus "sharing" is difficult due to developmental issues and not because she is "selfish." At this age, it is best to share time with a toy rather than sharing the toy itself. If a toy is desired by both children, you can limit each child to 10 minutes of play. When the time is up, tell your daughter "Oh I see, it is the baby's turn to use the toy." I would not allow either child to take a toy from the other. Simply intervene and give the toy back to the child who was playing with it first. If there is protest, simply tell the child, "I know it hurts to want a toy that someone else is using, but you may not take the toy from your sister." Children this age are learning proper social behaviors and do not, as yet know the rules and must be reminded of them consistently. It will be some time before your child will just follow proper behaviors on her own--at this point in her life, she needs your guidance and insistence that she follow rules that will eventually become second nature to her. Instead of looking for ways to punish her, just try to view each misbehavior as another opportunity to enforce and practice the appropriate behaviors. Patience, calmness, and consistency is the key.


It is normal for her to be jealous of her baby sibling. You might often point out the activities that a three or four year old can partake in that a baby cannot. It is fine for her to mimic the baby--this is the kind of play that leads to understanding the perspective of the baby and will not be harmful in any sense. You might tell her that you notice and then distract her with more age appropriate activities. For instance, if she is making baby coo sounds, you might say, "Oh I see you are making sounds like the baby makes. I am so happy that you know words and can talk to me." There are many advantages to being almost four! However, children at this young age sometimes regret leaving the safe feeling of being a dependent infant. She still needs to be held and cuddled, at times. She is in a time of transition and therefore, both sets of needs are still present to a degree.


Thank you for your question and if you would like further answers, please respond and I will reply. Thank you again, Dr. Tarey