This article’s objective is to offer guidance and information to parents and other caregivers so that they can support the growth of their children’s linguistic abilities, namely their speech and language. The purpose of this guide is to assist you in gaining an understanding of the developmental stage that your child is currently functioning at, as well as the activities that you may engage in to stimulate and support their continued growth.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of the information that was included in this article, we strongly suggest that you discuss them with the speech and language therapist who treats your child.
After the first year, children will go through a number of stages as they progress in the development of their speech and language skills. These stages can be broken down into substages. The ages that are listed are simply designed to serve as a general guide.
In addition to keeping an ear out for early words, it is still crucial to consider how well your child understands what is being said. For instance, a toddler will start to comprehend some regularly used words such as “mummy,” “daddy,” “ball,” “teddy,” and “cookie” based on the frequency with which he hears those phrases. Be conscious of the fact that the meaning of a word can also be improved by studying it in conjunction with other examples of its use. For instance, when language is used in conjunction with a common activity, such as taking a bath, your child may have a higher level of comprehension.
It is fairly usual for children of this age to grasp significantly more language than they are able to express verbally. It has been hypothesized that between the ages of one and two, a kid is capable of comprehending around five times the number of words that they are able to articulate verbally.
Your child may begin to generate strings of sounds such as “maba, gana” toward the end of the first year or the beginning of the second year. In these sound strings, the second consonant is different from the first consonant. It’s possible that he or she will start to mix his talking with gestures like pointing to what he or she wants, shaking his or her head to imply “no,” or waving “bye bye” in order to communicate.
It’s possible that they’ll start out trying to say things like “mama” and “dada.” The vocalizations that your child is making at this stage are more likely to sound like actual speech since the sounds are more melodic and rhythmical and they last for longer. Your little one will also start to utilize his or her voice to get other people’s attention or to make a request.
There is a wide range of ages at which children begin to utter their first words. Some children do it as young as six months. In most cases, once your child has produced one or two words that have significance, it is possible that he or she will start using these words consistently. For instance, in the beginning, a dog or any other animal with four legs might constantly be referred to as a “woof!”
12 Months and above
Your child will soon be able to understand a variety of single words and simple questions with hand gestures, like “Where is Daddy?” and simple one-step directions, like “Bring me your teddy.”
He or she will also start to understand his or her daily routines and start to know what to do when he or she sees or hears familiar objects or words. For example, you might know it’s time for dinner if you hear the words “dinner” or “food, yum” or if you see a spoon, plate, or bottle. Your child will also start to connect the names of things with the things themselves. If you ask, he or she may bring you something familiar, like a shoe, from another room.
At this age, your child will start to pay attention when you name body parts, like eyes or tummy, and will start to point to them when you say their name. Each week, he or she is likely to learn a few new words. Your child will be able to tell you what he wants by bouncing, laughing, kicking, throwing, pulling, pushing away, and pointing. With the help from an adult, he or she will now be able to stay interested in a book or pictures for two minutes or more.
Your child may now know about three clear words, like “mama,” “dada,” and usually the name of a familiar object, like “car” or “drink.” It will help your child if you repeat the words back to him or her. This will give these early words a clear shape and model. He or she will make up words and talk in a strange way. All of this, along with the way you speak, helps to show what you mean.
Your child will also start to repeat words they already know more often. Kids love to imitate! He or she will laugh, yell, and make a lot of sounds and grunts. He or she will like making the sounds of animals and things they know.
18 months and above
As your child’s understanding grows quickly, he or she will be able to follow directions with two keywords, like “Give me the spoon and the key.” He or she will also understand some action words, such as “sit down” and “come here.”
Your child will point and make gestures to show you something or get your attention. When asked, he or she will also start to point to parts of the body, like the eyes, nose, hair, and stomach.
When you name most common objects or pictures of common objects, he or she will probably be able to recognize and name them. He or she will be able to understand some difficult sentences and seems to know what longer ones mean.
Your child will be able to say “no” and “mine” very clearly after Stage 5. He or she will now use about 10 to 20 words, including the names of people. He or she will start to put together two words, like “all gone” or “daddy bye-bye.” It will be easier to copy sounds and words correctly.
Don’t worry if your child isn’t making sense right now. Your child will now be able to name a few things and say their names. He or she will keep babbling, but with words that make more sense.
He or she can hum and may be able to sing easy songs. He or she will like nursery rhymes, especially the ones with actions, like “The wheels on the bus” and “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes.” By the time your child is about two years old, he or she will likely have learned between one and two hundred words and how to put two words together. It’s important to keep in mind that children at this age often don’t say words clearly, and that’s fine. If this keeps happening, talk to your child’s doctor or a speech and language therapist about it.
Year 2 and what are the things you can do
- Learning new words
Say things like, “Isn’t your ice cream cold?” or “Do you want more spaghetti?” to help your child learn descriptive words. Use new things to teach your child new words. For example, a trip to the playground is a great way to do this (flowers, sand, swing). It’s also a good time to teach them words like “up” and “down,” like “You’re coming down the slide!”
- Listening to sound
Keep showing your child new sounds and telling him or her what they are. For example, if the doorbell rings, say, “That’s the doorbell.” Introduce your child to symbolic sounds, which are sounds that mean something, like “uh-oh” when you drop something or “meow” when he or she sees a cat in real life or in a picture.
- Taking turns
As your child starts to understand what you want and follow your instructions, like “Give me the car,” make giving and getting into a game. Play games where you can take turns, such as rolling a ball to each other.
Give your child things to look at and touch, like a baby mirror or soft, cuddly toys. Also give your child things to hold, shake, and bang, like bells and bricks.
Encourage him or her to follow toys with his eyes. For example, blow bubbles or balloons in front of him or use finger puppets. You can also play games where you hide things from your child. For example, you could let a piece of paper or a scarf fall over your head or cover a toy and tell your child to pull it off. Play “make-believe” games with your child, like pretending to drink tea. You could also have fun feeding and putting stuffed animals or dolls.
- Nursery rhymes and songs
You can listen to nursery rhymes or songs or watch your child’s favorite videos with him or her. You could also sing him or her his or her favorite nursery rhymes. Do the actions along with the words, like “The wheels on the bus go round and round.” When your child knows the songs and the words, ask him or her to fill in the sounds, actions, or words that come at the end of each line. For example, “Heads and shoulders, knees and…”
Above all, have fun with your child!