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Helping your child tell his or her story of the day

“What did you do today? “Help your child tell his or her story about his or her day.“Did you have a good day? “What did you do today? “These questions are on the lips of many parents after a day without their child. But the answers are often brief: “Yes,” “Nothing! “I don’t know! ». But it’s a good idea to encourage a toddler to talk about his day. This not only shows interest in who they are and what they do, but it also helps their language development.

Talking about the day to develop language

Asking your child questions about their day is one way to encourage them to talk. When sharing an event with you, your child develops his vocabulary as he practices making sentences. They also learn to organize several sentences logically and to follow a sequence. By questioning or listening to him, you also show him that what he is experiencing is important to you.

Generally speaking, the ability to tell stories develops little by little. Generally speaking, the ability to tell stories develops gradually. Your child may start by talking about a real-life event, such as a fight with a friend or a dinner with his grandfather, and later on, tell invented stories.

Here’s an overview of what your child can tell you depending on his age:

  • Around 2 years old: your toddler starts to be able to report an event in a very simple way, especially a moment that has marked him. He can tell you, for example: “Victor has a boo-boo! That’s not nice!
  • Around age 3: He can talk more clearly about some moments of his day. It is even easier for him to talk about the most recent moments. He does not necessarily take into account the order in which events occurred.
  • Around age 4: Your toddler is more organized in what he tells. For example, he says, “We ate outside and then we played in the yard. “He can more easily refer to past events by situating them in the day, for example, “We did a craft when it was morning. »
  • Between 4 and 5 years old: your child can talk about the events of his day by making links between them and by respecting a certain order. He can tell the story in more detail and with more information. However, your child may still have difficulty with concepts such as “yesterday” and “tomorrow”.

How can you help your child tell the story of his or her day?

Before the age of 3

  • Ask the person who spent time with your child to tell you about the highlights of his or her day. This will make it easier to understand your child when he or she talks about his or her day or asks questions.

Children are often tired when they return from child care. Give your toddler time to relax before encouraging her to talk about her day.

  • Ask questions that give your child choices, such as: “Did you play with Charles or Elizabeth?
  • Ask them specific questions that they can’t answer with a simple yes or no answer. For example, say, “Who did you play ball with” instead of just “Did you have fun with your friends today? ».

From 3 years old

  • Work with him or her to formulate a short sequence of events that happened during the day so that he or she can tell more, for example, “You got up, ate cereal, and then? »
  • Take pictures of your toddler during a routine and play together to order the pictures correctly and then tell what he’s doing. This game will help her understand the concept of sequencing as well as make her want to talk about everyday events.
  • Ask him what his favorite moments of the day were and then tell him yours. If you see that your child is having trouble telling, don’t hesitate to speak up first to provide a role model.
  • Use humor and fantasy to encourage your child to talk about his or her day. When your child understands the jokes, use the opportunity to laugh with him or her by saying, for example, “Did you eat spaghetti or a chocolate cake as big as the house? This will encourage them to tell their stories.
He doesn’t like to talk about his day
Your child may not like to talk about his day. Some adults don’t like that either! It’s important to respect your toddler’s personality and avoid bombarding him with questions. You can find other ways to talk with your toddler, such as reading a book with him and commenting on the story.

Things to remember

  • Talking with your child about his day helps him to make sentences and develop his vocabulary and shows him that you care about him.
  • The ability to tell stories develops gradually as your child learns to situate events in time.
  • You can help your toddler tell his story about his day by asking him what his favorite moment was and telling him about yours.

Resources and References

For parents
BERGERON-GAUDIN, Marie-Ève. J’apprends à parler: language development from 0 to 5 years old. Montreal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 184 p.

BOUCHARD, Caroline. Le développement global de l’enfant de 0 à 6 ans en contextes éducatifs. Quebec City: Presses de l’Universitédu Québec, 2019, 516 p.

PESCO, Diane, and Andréanne GAGNÉ. “Scaffolding Narrative Skills: A Meta-Analysis of Instruction in Early Childhood Settings. Early Education and Development, September 2015, pp. 1-21.

For Children
CHURCH, Caroline Jayne. Good night, love you! Éditions Scholastic, 2012, 20 p.