Language milestones: answering simple questions

You might be wondering when will your little one begin to verbally answer to your questions. It’s not an easy task! It requires your son to understand what you’re asking, process the question, formulate an answer and then verbally communicate it. It all depends on what questions you’re asking, so it’s a good idea to know what kind of questions you should ask and expect an answer to, depending on your child’s age.

At one or two years of age, children use a lot of gestures to communicate. For example, a child might answer a simple “where” question like “where’s the cat?” by pointing in its direction. He might also answer yes/no questions with a head nod or shake. As for asking questions themselves, one or two-year-olds begin to use pitch to communicate that they’re asking something (the pitch goes up at the end). Two and three-year-olds verbally answer and understand simple “where”, “what” and “who” questions and begin to ask questions related to their wants and needs. For example, your little one might ask “where mommy?”. By three or four, children may begin to answer more complex questions like “when”, “why” and “how”, and in turn, he might use them to formulate questions himself.

To get your son to practice answering questions, ask him many questions that are similar, but change the first word. For example, you might ask:
“What did you play with?”
“Where did you play?”
“Who did you play with?”
“When did you play?”
“How did you play?”
“Why did you play?”

That way, you’ll find out what your little one really understands. If he answers something incorrectly, you can explain and then work on those specific questions later on.

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