Filled with opportunities to request for, and talk about, favourite foods and drinks, snack time is wonderful for developing communication skills. This everyday activity is not only great for learning language but also helps facilitate parent-child bonding.

During snack time, remember to create opportunities and reasons for your child to communicate. For example:

  • Offer a little and wait: Instead of giving all of the snack to your child in one go, you may want to give them a little at a time, e.g. a few blueberries instead of a bowlful. After they have finished, continue to entice them but wait for them to indicate their wants through gestures or words. Don’t be afraid of silence. Give them a chance to initiate rather than just repeat.
  • Choice making: Present two favoured food items e.g. blueberries and biscuits, and get your child to choose what they want. Depending on your child’s language level, they may use different ways to communicate. For a child who’s not ready for their first words, they may look longer at a food item or gesture to indicate what they want. For others, you may expect that they will use one word e.g. “blueberry”, two words e.g. “more blueberries”, or three or more words e.g. “Give me blueberries.”/ “Can I have two blueberries?”
  • Increasing sentence length: If your child is using single words, encourage them to use short phrases by combining two-to-three words together, such as ” more blueberries” or ” I want blueberries.” You will likely need to model this for them at first, but as they become more familiar with this, expect to use fewer prompts and that they will begin to use these phrases more independently.
  • Include concepts such as quantity e.g. one blueberry, size e.g. big cookie vs. little cookie, and prepositions e.g. in the bowl/ on the plate.


If your child is not yet using sentences of three to four words, don’t insist on them saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. These politeness-markers are not yet useful or functional for them.

These are just a few ideas for developing language during snack time. Use different foods, be creative, and have fun! Snack and learn!