A Better Start Southend
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You will notice that your little one’s communication and language is still changing and developing. At this age they might be able to:

  • Engage in conversation
  • Use more adult forms of speech
  • Talk aloud to themselves as they play
  • Answer and understand some questions about their daily routines, e.g. who, what, when and where (but not necessarily ‘why’)
  • Use ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘because’ to make longer sentences
  • Describe and re-tell recent events
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Use personal pronouns ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘me’ ‘your’ and negations ‘don’t, ‘can’t’

You may also be beginning to think about your little one starting school soon. Follow the link for ideas to support their smooth transition

English not your home Language?


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Fun Ideas to try with your baby as you Chat, Sing, Play and Read with them
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Put aside a ‘special time’ to talk with your little one about their day. Talking about what has happened will help their memory skills, as they are having to recall things that happened in the past – an important skill for when they reach school.

Remember not to ask your little ones lots of questions and instead encourage the chatter by talking together about what they are doing/playing. Your commentary helps their language skills and shows you are listening and interested

Any time is chat time so why not maximise opportunities to chat together in the car, walking to Pre-school or nursery, on the bus in the shops etc.


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When your little one is this age, they might go to Pre-school, Nursery or to a Childminder and when they are at home with you, enjoy sharing all the nursery rhymes and songs they sing there! Some may be unfamiliar, but don’t worry, ask your little one’s Early Years Setting what rhymes they sing, find them on ‘YouTube Kids’ and away you go for a sing a long!

Your little one might like songs that repeat words and melodies, use rhythms with a definite beat, and songs that ask them to do things e.g. Here we go round the mulberry bush… this is the way we wash our hands, brush our teeth – Listen to the song on YouTube


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Your little one’s ability to focus has grown so that they might now play and concentrate for up to 15 minutes on an activity they have chosen.

They love to pretend and imagine, so why not join your little one in pretend play, letting them take the lead?

Put together a dressing up box – you don’t need to have expensive ‘costumes’ – any pieces of material, or old clothes are great as they can become anything! An old scarf can become a super hero’s cape, a wizard’s cloak, a fire fighter’s jacket, whatever your little one wants.

Reversing roles can also be great fun for your child. Let them play at being the ‘grown up’ or the ‘teacher’. This helps them to imagine and take on new characters.

As they reach their 4th birthday, your little one might start playing cooperatively with one or two other children and this really helps their ability to take turns, negotiate, problem solve and plan. There may be arguments as the group learn to share and co-operate, but this is absolutely natural!


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Your little one might now enjoy humourous books, tongue twisters and rhymes. As you share stories together, make funny faces or character voices to keep them interested or even make them giggle!

Wherever possible, use objects, puppets, acting, gestures and facial expressions.

When you’re sharing a book together, ask questions such as: ‘What can you see on this page?’ and ‘How do you think the characters feel?’ Try asking your child to tell the story. They can ‘read’ the pictures to you and talk about what’s happening on each page.

Don’t forget to also share Non-fiction books with your little one; books about transport, animals, the weather or space – anything that catches their interest.


Looking for new stories?

Don’t forget to join your local library where you’ll find a limitless selection.
You can also find out when and where the Storyrhymes sessions are on at your local library.


Some book suggestions for 3 – 4 yr olds:


  • The Gruffalo. by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
  • Smelly Louie. by Catherine Rayner (author, illustrator)
  • I Am Perfectly Designed. by Karamo Brown and illustrated by Anoosha Syed
  • The Snail and the Whale Sticker Book. by  Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler  (Illustrator)
  • The Pop-Up Dear Zoo. by Rod Campbell (author, illustrator)
  • So Much. by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
  • I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato. by Lauren Child (author, illustrator)

Non Fiction:

  • The Ultimate book of Cities. by Anne Sophie Baumaan
  • Our Amazing World Series e.g. Spiders. by Kay de Silva


BookTrust have tips and advice for sharing books with children who are 3-4 years:

View the book online here

For your nearest library in Southend

If you live in an A Better Start Southend ward, you can access Southend Storysacks where you can borrow free storytelling and activity packs.



Why not share the story, The ‘Bear Who Stared’ with your little one? Remember to talk about what you see as you listen and watch the story together in: English, French, Albanian, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, and Welsh. Enjoy this version… Many Voices Make a Story Fun!

If you have any concerns about your little one’s speech sounds and/or language and communication development and live in one of the 6 A Better Start areas email the Let’s Talk Team for information and advice.

If you live out of the A Better Start areas do contact your Health Visitor to share your concern and they can help to ensure your little one is supported.

View Let's Talk ABSS
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