If your child is not showing skills expected for their age then they may need help. Remember that early intervention is important.
Screen time needs to be used in moderation to allow children to develop key speech, language and communication skills.
By 6 months, usually children will:
Vocalizes pleasure and displeasure sounds differently e.g. laughs, giggles, cries, or fusses
Makes noise when talked to
Turn towards a sound when they hear it
Be startled by loud noises
Watch your face when you talk to them
Recognise your voice
Smile and laugh when other people smile and laugh
Make noises, like coos or squeals, to get your attention
Have different cries for different needs. For example, one cry for hunger, another when they are tired
By their first birthday, usually children will:
Babbles e.g. says "ba-ba-ba"
Says "ma-ma" or "da-da" without meaning
Tries to communicate by actions or gestures
Tries to repeat your sounds
Says first word
Listen carefully, and turn to someone talking on the other side of the room
Look at you when you speak and when their name is called
Make noises, point and look at you to get your attention
Smile at people who are smiling at them
Start to understand words like "car" and 'daddy"
Enjoy action songs and rhymes and get excited when sung to
Take turns in conversations, babbling back to an adult
By 2 years, usually children will:
Answers simple questions nonverbally
Says 2 to 3 words to label a person or object (pronunciation may not be clear)
Tries to imitate simple words
Asks for common foods by name
Use 50 or more single words. These will also become more recognisable to others
Vocabulary of four to 6 words
Makes animal sounds, such as "moo"
Starting to combine words, such as "more milk"
Begins to use pronouns, such as "mine"
Uses 2-word phrases
Concentrate on activities for longer, such as playing with a toy they like
Sit and listen to simple stories with pictures
Understand between 200 and 500 words
Understand more simple questions and instructions. For example, "where is your shoe?" and "show me your nose"
Copy sounds and words a lot
Enjoy pretend play with their toys, such as feeding a dolly
Use a more limited number of sounds in their words than adults - often these sounds are p, b, t, d, m and w. Children will also often miss the ends of
words at this stage. They can usually be understood about half of the time.
By 4 years, usually children will:
Knows some spatial concepts, such as "in" or "on"
Knows pronouns, such as "you", "me" or "her"
Knows descriptive words, such as "big" or "happy"
Uses 3-word sentences
Speech is becoming more accurate, but may still leave off ending sounds. Strangers may not be able to understand much of what is said.
Use longer sentences and link sentences together
Answers simple questions about 'why' something has happened, although this still might be at quite a basic level
Begins to use more pronouns, such as "you" or "I"
Uses question inflection to ask for something, such as "my ball?"
Describes events that have already happened, even if their sentences aren't exactly like adults e.g. 'we went park'
Enjoy make believe play
Begins to use plurals, such as "shoes" or "socks" and regular past tense verbs, such as "jumped"
Groups objects, such as foods or clothes
Understand and often use colour, number and time related words, for example, 'red' car, 'three' fingers and 'yesterday / tomorrow'
Still make mistakes with tense such as 'runned' for 'ran' and 'swimmed' for 'swam'
Start to be able to plan games with others
Uses most speech sounds, but may distort some of the more difficult sounds, such as l, r, s, sh, ch, y, v, z, th. These sounds may not be fully mastered until age 7 or 8.
Start to like simple jokes even if they don't understand them
Uses consonants in the beginning, middle, and ends of words. Some of these more difficult consonants may be distorted, but attempts to say them
Strangers are able to understand much of what is said
Able to describe the use of objects, such as "fork" or "car"
Has fun with language; enjoys poems and recognises language absurdities, such as, "Is that an elephant on your head?"
Expresses ideas and feelings rather than just talking about the world around him or her
Uses verbs that end in "ing", such as "walking" or "talking"
Answers simple questions, such as "What do you do when you are hungry?"
Listen to longer stories and answer questions about a storybook they have just read
Beyond 5 years, usually children will:
Unserstands spatial concepts, such as "behind" or "next to"
Understands complex questions
Speech is understandable, but makes mistakes pronouncing long, difficult, or complex words, such as "hippopotamus"
Uses some irregular past tense verbs, such as "ran" or "fell"
Describes how to do things, such as painting a picture
Lists items that belong in a category, such as animals or vehicles
Answers "why" questions
Understands time sequences (for example, what happened first, second, or third)
Carries out a series of 3 directions
Engages in conversation
Sentences can be 8 or more words in length
Uses compound and complex sentences
Uses imagination to create stories
Focus on one thing for longer without being reminded
Rely less on pictures and objects to learn new words
Use their language skills in learning to read, write and spell
Learn that different words can mean the same thing such as 'minus' and 'take away'
Understand feelings and descriptive words like 'carefully', 'slowly' or 'clever'
Use language for different purposes such as asking questions or persuading
Share and discuss more complex ideas
Use language in a range of social situations
Beyond 8 years, usually children will:
Use language to predict and draw conclusions
Use long and complex sentences
Understand comparative words e.g. 'it was earlier than yesterday'
Keep a conversation going by giving reasons and explaining choices
Start conversations with adults and children they don't know
Understand and use passive sentences where the order of the words can still be confusing for younger children e.g. "the thief is chased by the policeman"
What to expect between the ages of 11 and 14:
Use longer sentences; usually 7-12 words or more
Build their sentences using a range of conjunctions or joining words, such as 'meanwhile', 'however', 'except' so that they can convey complex ideas
Know how to use sarcasm. Know when others are being sarcastic to them
Be able to change topic well in conversations
Use more subtle and witty humour
Show some understanding of idioms, such as "put your money where your mouth is!"
Know that they talk differently to friends than to teachers and be able to adjust this easily
Understand and use slang terms with friends. They keep up with rapidly changing 'strret talk'
What to expect between the ages of 14 and 17:
Follow complicated instructions
Know that they haven't understood. They will ask to be told again or have something specific explained
Easily swap between 'classroom' talk and 'break-time' talk