Language Development in Infants & Children

Children begin developing the tools for language development early in life. Many would say babies are “telling you stories” as they coo and babble during the first year of life. Language development becomes more sophisticated as our children grow older. At Achieve, our speech-language pathologists will start with these essential building blocks and work with your child to improve their overall language development through fun and innovative therapy sessions.

When Do Children Say Their First Words?

Typical Speech Language Milestones in Children

When your child is entering school, at the age of 4 years old, they are able to sing a song or say a poem from memory, such as “ Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Wheels on the Bus”. They enjoy telling stories and can use their first and last name and tell important information about themselves. They are able to understand the idea of “same” and “different”. They are showing a real interest in playing with other children over playing alone. The play they engage in often includes pretending to be “Mom” or “Dad” and can often be very creative.

At your baby’s first birthday, the baby has started saying “mama” and “dada” meaningfully and may have one to two other words. He can follow simple instructions in a known routine and can give you familiar objects. He is playing “Peek- a- boo” by covering and uncovering himself and pushing toy cars.

By 18 months, your child should be able to say a minimum of 10 meaningful words and may have as many as 50 words. Their vocabulary includes different types of words, such as nouns (“baby”, “cookie”), verbs (“eat”, “go”), prepositions (“up”, “down”), adjectives (“hot”, “sleepy”), and social words (“hi”, “bye”). These words may not all sound perfect but you know what they mean when they request an item. Your little one can follow two instructions using the same object, for example “Please wipe your nose then throw the tissue away.” He is also able to identify at least six body parts. When playing, your child may enjoy passing you things as a game or rolling a ball to you.

At the age of 2 years old, most children are really starting to communicate by putting two words together with purpose, for example, “No shoes!”, “More cookies!”. They are using new words regularly and refer to themselves by their name but are sometimes using pronouns such as “I”, “me” and “you”. Furthermore, they are understanding new words rapidly. They show this by following more complicated instructions or by identifying more objects or concepts. Play time includes stacking and assembling toys and objects. Also by this age, they are able to put away the toys upon request!

When your child is 3 years old, they are now able to talk well enough for strangers to understand them and they are stringing two to three sentences together when telling you stories, Additionally, they are able to respond to “who,” “what,” and “where” questions about objects and people who are not present. An example of this is “Where is your sister?,” or “What did you eat for lunch?”. By the age of 3 play often includes make-believe with dolls, animals and people. They are also able to work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts.

When your child is entering school, at the age of 4 years old, they are able to sing a song or say a poem from memory, such as “ Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Wheels on the Bus”. They enjoy telling stories and telling people all about their first and last name and important information about themselves. They are able to understand the idea of “same” and “different”. They are showing a real interest in playing with other children over playing alone. The play they engage in often includes pretending to be “Mom” or “Dad” and can often be very creative.