In order to have a successful conversation a child must be able to ask and answer questions. Like other language skills, children normally develop the ability to answer questions within an expected period. Below is a timeline which outlines when to expect different conversational responses from your child.
One to two years
The first type of question a child should be able to answer is a simple ‘where’ question such as “Where is Mummy?”. They may not produce a verbal response as their vocabulary may not allow for it but they will be able to show you that they understand the question by looks in the appropriate place or pointing. At this age children are also able to understand binary choice questions such as “do you want apples or oranges?” by pointing or choosing the desired object. They should be able to answer wheat is this questions by pointing to objects or pictures of familiar items such as bottle or ball. They should also be able to answer yes and no questions by nodding or shaking their head. At this age children will also starts to use the question form “What’s that?” with a rising intonation to indicate a query.
Two to three years
Between two and three years of age children are able to answer questions such as “what do you wear on your feet?” by pointing to the object such as shoes. Children can answer most ‘wh’ questions including “where”, “what’s that?”, “What’s he doing?” and “Who is?” questions as well as understanding and answering “Can you…?” questions. At this age children start to ask simple questions such as “Where ball?” and “what’s he doing?”.
Three to four years
At this age children are able to answer questions that are more complex logically, such as ‘who’, ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ questions. They can answers “If, then, what?” style questions logically for example “If it starts raining, what would you do?”. They can also answer questions regarding function and purpose such as “What are plates for?,” “Why do we have shoes?”Children at this age are also able to produce and accurately use ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘‘when’, ‘how’ and ‘whose’ questions, as well as asking ‘is’ questions like “Is this an orange?”.
Four years and above
Children at his age begin to have a solid understanding of time concepts and are able to answer “when” questions. They can also answer “how many” questions as long as the answer is within their numerical knowledge e.g. roughly 1-4.
They are now able to use a number of questions with correct grammatical structure such as early infinitive: “Do you want to go there?”, future tense questions “Are we going to the park?” and questions with modals such as ‘can’ and ‘may’ e.g. “Can you bring me the cup?”.
Contact us for results focused speech therapy
This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have questions about children’s speech and language development or speech pathology, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.