Typical Developmental Milestones

Do you know what speech and language skills are developmentally appropriate for your child? Use this chart to learn more about speech and language developmental milestones. Not sure if your child has a delay, then our milestone checklist can help. We’ve also included great toys for language development at each stage.

4-6 months
  • Moves eyes in direction of sounds
  • Responds to no and changes in tone of voice
  • Notices toys that make sounds
  • Recognizes voices
  • Uses sounds p, b and m in babbling
  • Smiles and laughs when spoken to
  • Vocalizes excitement and displeasure
  • Makes gurgling sounds when left alone and when playing with you
7-12 months
  • Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Turns and looks in direction of sounds
  • Responds to own name
  • Recognizes words for common items such as “cup,” “shoe,” “book”
  • Begins to respond to requests (e.g. “Give me”)
  • Uses a large variety of sounds in babbling
  • Uses speech or non-crying sounds to get and keep attention
  • Uses gestures to communicate (waving, holding arms to be picked up)
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Has 1 – 3 meaningful words (hi, dog,dada, mama)
1-2 years
  • Asks and answers WH-questions (“Where kitty?”  “What’s that?”)Developmental Milestones
  • Puts two words together (“more cookie,” “no juice,” “mommy book”)
  • Is approximately 25 -50% intelligible to strangers
  • Understands “no”
  • Points to body parts
  • Gives a toy when asked
2-3 years
  • Understands differences in meaning (“go-stop,” “in-on,” “big-little,” “up-down”)
  • Follows 2-part commands (“Get the book and put it on the table”)
  • Understands 500 – 900+ words
  • Requests items by name
  • Uses 2 – 4 word phrases
  • Maintains topic over several conversational turns
  • Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds
  • Produces 50 – 250+ words
  • Is approximately 50 – 75% intelligible
3-4 years
  • Understands function of objects
  • Understands opposites
  • Follows 2 and 3 part commands
  • Answers simple “who?”, “what?”, “where?”, and “why?” questions
  • Uses language to express emotion
  • Relates recent events
  • Uses mostly nouns and verbs
  • Uses 4 – 5 word sentences
  • Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words
  • Is approximately 80% intelligible
4-5 years
  • Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about them
  • Uses sentences of 4 – 8 words with adult-like grammar
  • Tells stories that stay to topic
  • Communicates easily with other children and adults
  • Answers complex 2-part questions
  • Is intelligible with strangers although some sound errors may persist
5-6 years
  • Accurately relays a story or an event
  • Exchanges information and asks questions
  • Uses sentences with details
  • Follows instructions given to a group
  • Asks how questions
  • Begins to demonstrate sequencing abilities (days of the week)
  • Answers open-ended questions (“What did you have for lunch today?”)