Facilitating Language Development In Young Children: Suggestion for Parents​

Age 1 Milestones

  • Recognizes names
  • Says 2-3 words besides “mama” and “dada”
  • Imitates familiar words
  • Understands simple instructions
  • Recognizes words as symbols for objects: Car-points to garage; cat-meow
  • Respond to your child’s coos, gurgles, and babbling
  • Talk to your child as you care for him or her throughout the day
  • Read colorful books to your child every day
  • Tell nursery rhymes and sing songs
  • Teach your child the names of everyday items and familiar people
  • Take your child with you to new places and situations
  • Play simple games with your child such as “peek a boo” and “pat-a-cake”

Between Age One & Two

  • Understands “no”
  • Uses 10-20 words such as “Daddy bye-bye”
  • Waves goodbye and plays “pat-a-cake”
  • Makes the “sounds” of familiar animals
  • Gives a toy when asked
  • Uses words such as “more” to make wants known
  • Points to his or her toes, eyes, and nose
  • Brings object from another room when asked
  • Reward and encourage early efforts at saying new words
  • Talk to your baby about everything you’re doing while you’re with him
  • Talk simply, clearly, and slowly to your child
  • Talk about new situations before you go, while you’re there, and again when you are home
  • Look at your child when he or she talks to you
  • Describe what your child is doing, feeling, hearing
  • Let your child listen to children’s records and tapes
  • Praise your child’s efforts to communicate

Between Age Two & Three

  • Identifies body parts
  • Carries on ‘conversation’ with self and dolls
  • Asks “What’s that?” and “Where’s my…?”
  • Uses 2 word negative phrases such as “no want.”
  • Forms some plurals by adding “s”: book, books
  • Has a 450 word vocabulary
  • Gives first name, holds up fingers to tell age
  • Combines nouns and verbs; “mommy go”
  • Understands simple time concepts: “last night,” “tomorrow”
  • Refers to self as “me” rather than by name
  • Tries to get adult attention: “watch me”
  • Likes to hear same story repeated
  • May say “no” when means “yes”
  • Talks to other children as well as adults
  • Solves problems by talking instead of hitting or crying
  • Answers “where” questions
  • Names common pictures and things
  • Uses short sentences like “me want more” or “me want cookie”
  • Matches 3-4 colors, knows big and little
  • Repeat new words over and over
  • Helps your child listen and follow instructions by playing games: “pick up the ball,” “Touch Daddy’s nose”
  • Take your child on trips and talk about what you see before, during, and after the trip
  • Let your child tell you answers to simple questions
  • Read books every day, perhaps as part of the bedtime routine
  • Listen attentively as your child talks to you
  • Describe what you are doing, planning, thinking
  • Have the child deliver simple messages for you (Mommy needs you, Daddy)
  • Carry on conversations with your child, preferably when the two of you have some quiet time together
  • Ask questions to get your child to think and talk
  • Show the child you understand what he or she says by answering, smiling, and nodding your head
  • Expand what the child says. If he or she says, “more juice,” You say, “Adam wants more juice.”

Between Age Three & Four

  • Can tell a story
  • Has a sentence length of 4-5 words
  • Has a vocabulary of nearly 1000 words
  • Names at lease one color
  • Understands “yesterday, “summer,” “lunchtime,” “tonight,” “lttle-big”
  • Begins to obey requests like “put the block under the chair
  • Knows his or her last name, name of street on which he/she lives and several nursery rhymes
  • Talk about how objects are the same or different
  • Help your child to tell stores using books and pictures
  • Let your child play with other children
  • Read longer stories to your child
  • Pay attention to your child when he’s talking
  • Talk about places you’ve been or will be going

Between Age Four & Five

  • Has sentence length of 4-5 words
  • Uses past tense correctly
  • Has vocabulary of nearly 1500 words
  • Points to colors red, blue, yellow, and green
  • Understands “In the morning,” “next: “noontime”
  • Can speak of imaginary conditions such as “I hope”
  • Asks many questions, asks “who?” and why?”
  • Help your child sort objects and things (ex. Things you eat, animals…”
  • Teach your child how to use the telephone
  • Let your child help you plan activities such as what you will make for thanksgiving dinner
  • Continue talking with him about his interest
  • Read longer stories to him
  • Let her tell and make up stories for you
  • Show your pleasure when she comes to talk with you

Between Age Five & Six

  • Has a sentence length of 5-6 words
  • Has a vocabulary of around 2000 words
  • Defines objects by their use ( you eat with a fork) and can tell what objects are made of
  • Knows spatial relations like “on top,” “behind,” “far” and “near”
  • Knows her address
  • Identifies a penny, nickel, and dime
  • Knows common opposites like “big/little”
  • Understands “same: and “different”
  • Counts ten objects
  • Asks questions for information
  • Distinguishes left and right hand in herself
  • Uses all types of sentences, for example “let’s go to the store after we eat.”
  • Praise your child when they talk about their feelings, thoughts, hopes, and fears
  • Comment on what you did or how you think our child feels
  • Sing songs, rhymes with your child
  • Continue to read longer stories
  • Talk with your child as you would an adult
  • Look at family photos and talk to him about your family history
  • Listen to your when they talk to you

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