Empower Your Child's Communication: Speech and Language Milestones

From birth, babies begin to develop essential language skills that lay the foundation for their social relationships, learning abilities and motor skills. 

Parents play a primary role in tracking how kids master age-appropriate speech milestones, which develop through a series of identifiable stages. While each child develops on their own timeline, they should reach certain typical milestones at each stage of their language development journey. 

If you suspect your child is falling behind their peers on typical language and communication milestones, consult a pediatrician or speech therapist for an early diagnosis. A language and speech development evaluation can help your doctor rule out hearing difficulties and recommend ways to boost vocabulary and communication skills

Read on to learn age-appropriate speech and language developmental milestones to look for in your toddler between birth and five years. 

Birth to 5 Months 

Babies start learning to identify and process communication signals as soon as they are born.

  • During the first months of life, toddlers learn to identify their mother's voice and often vary their cries to communicate different wants and needs.

  • Between 3 to 5 months, babies can react to sounds and will likely smile when spoken to. They also actively listen to language rhythms and can express themselves through laughs, coos and fusses. 

4 to 6 Months 

  • At around 4 to 5 months, most infants start expressing themselves through babbling and repeating single-syllable sounds. At this stage, your child will likely begin responding to vocalizations and show a response to changes in tone.

  • By 6 months, babies enter the 'jargon phase', where they try to repeat words and talk, but the speech is mainly inarticulate or meaningless. Parents can encourage communication and boost vocabulary at this age by reading and talking to their toddlers daily. 

6 to 11 Months 

This stage is characterized by more babbling and attempts to respond to speech and imitate sounds.

  • At 6 to 8 months, toddlers constantly grow their vocabulary and show interest in interactive games like peek-a-boo. They also start to respond to their name and can imitate common phrases such as "bye-bye".

  • By 8 or 9 months, your child should begin making vowel and consonant babbling, which prepares them to start forming their first words. 

12 to 17 Months 

Parents should start hearing their baby saying articulate words by their first birthday.

  • Children begin to identify and name objects at this age and improve on following simple instructions like "Come here".

  • In the next few months, toddlers will constantly enhance their vocalization of words and start to combine speech with gestures.

    • Communication through reading and play helps grow the child's vocabulary and encourages the transition from babbling to fluent speech. 

    • Learn more about reading readiness and letter sound activities to kick start your child's learning.

18 to 23 Months 

Children at this age are constantly picking up new words and should show improvement in understanding and following instructions.

  • They will start combining two or three words, such as "mamma come". These short 'sentences' will consist of made-up and actual words. As such, those close to the child will be able to understand most of the speech, but unfamiliar people may have difficulty comprehending what is being said. 

2 to 3 Years 

Typical 2-year-old speech and language milestones include the ability to pronounce vowels and familiar words correctly.

  • By age 3, most toddlers can communicate in sentences of 3-4 words and may often speak and play simultaneously. They also enjoy listening to stories and can identify several body parts by name.

    • At this stage in early speech development, toddlers should also be able to speak clearly enough for strangers to make sense of about three-quarters of the speech. 

3 to 4 Years 

Between the ages of 3-4 years, children start possessing an increased speech rate and may begin using phrases with 4 - 5 words to express ideas or feelings. They also show an increased ability to follow two-part instructions, such as "Pick your toy."

  • Typical 3-year-old speech and language milestones include the frequent use of questions starting with "why" and "what" as they seek to engage in more complex conversations about a wide range of topics. 

4 to 5 Years 

Most 4-year-olds demonstrate the ability to use longer sentences. They start sharing stories they heard or made up and can quickly learn and repeat simple rhymes.

Moreover, kids at this age begin to understand how things are different, such as the distinction between night and day.

By the time they are 5, kids can keep a conversation going with several back-and-forth exchanges and can answer simple questions about familiar stories or events. 

5 Years 

During the early school years, your child will likely show improved verbal communication as they learn more words and improve their ability to share ideas and opinions.

Typical communication milestones beyond age 5 include the use of longer sentences and the ability to identify shapes and colors. Kids at this age also tend to ask more complex questions with words like 'has ', 'does' or 'whose'. Parents can support speech development at this early stage by introducing interactive toys and other play-based educational activities that foster learning and imagination. 

How Alphapals Can Help With Your Child's Speech Development 

Language milestones development typically follows a predictable pattern that can be monitored during a toddler's early years. Adequate speech development in children requires consistent exposure to sounds, educational play, and sensory stimulators that enhance their ability to master language skills within the appropriate age range. 

Alphapals offers parents and educators a unique sensory and language development tool that gently encourages young kids to learn, interact and communicate. This game-changing educational toy features a set of plush rainbow alphabet letters and numbers that preschoolers can snuggle up to and learn new letters, words and colors. 

The Alphapals toy provides ample opportunities for parents to nurture all aspects of their baby's speech and language development. By fostering learning through play, this alphabet toy creates a fun and comforting environment where children can pick up language skills and sharpen their sensory skills and creative thinking. 

Parents and their young ones can venture into the magical world of Alphaland to uncover fun adventures, songs, games, and other interactive activities that encourage communication and foster language development. 

Shop Alphapals Sets here to discover a fun-filled way to engage your child's curiosity and support them to reach crucial toddler talking milestones.