Reception Social Interaction

What is it?

A child may say words clearly and use long, complex sentences with correct grammar, but they may still present with a communication problem if they have not mastered the rules for social language.

What to expect?

In Reception, children will usually:

  • Play with other children and choose own friends
  • Engage in and organise make believe / role play with other children, e.g. pretends to be a character during play
  • Play more detailed and elaborate games
  • Initiate conversation with other people
  • Take turns in longer conversations
  • Listen to and join in with group conversations
  • Use language to gain information, negotiate and give opinions
  • Prefer routine but can cope with changes with adult support and/or pre-warning.

Information & advice

You can help by:

  • Use clear, simple language.
  • Be explicit about exactly what you would like the child to do, e.g. “listen to me, then it will be your turn to talk”.
  • Teach new skills in a 1:1 setting with an adult initially, then start to add peers so that the child can learn to generalise new skills.
  • When talking make sure you are face to face and make eye-contact
  • Give the child plenty of time respond and try to avoid anticipating or completing the child’s sentence
  • Use open questions, rather than closed to encourage more than yes/no responses
  • Be honest if you have not understood the child; ask them to explain again. This develops self-awareness and gives them an opportunity to repair the conversation.