Being able to communicate wants and needs is a massive step for children and a proud moment for parents. However, unlike motor skill milestones like walking, crawling, or grasping, language milestones tend to happen more gradually and can be hard for parents to know when to step in when they’re not met. So here are 4 important language skills for toddlers:
Being able to say at least 30 words.
For two to three year olds, growth of vocabulary is important. They don’t have to be able to say them all at once, or in a long string of sentences, but at least 30 separate words and also understand what they mean. Ideally, these words should be directly related to their needs like, potty, food, apple, juice, toy, mom, dad, etc.
Also being able to string a couple of these words into a basic sentence like “sad girl” or “mommy eating.”
Understanding and responding to simple verbal requests.
Requests like “put your toy away” or “get your juice from the table” should be understood and the child should also be able to point to the object you’re referring to or complete the request around three years of age.
Children this age should also be able to follow two-step commands as well such as “here, take your juice and sit down over there.”
Being able to create simple two- or three-word phrases that express more than their immediate needs.
When children are between two and three, being able to say, “mommy hungry” or “I’m sad” is only the beginning of language development for toddlers. By three, they should also be able to make statements that aren’t always related to what they need like, “mommy look” or “big dog”.
This is great for expressing their observations and is important to take note of so you can continue to support and show them how to verbalize their experiences. An easy way to develop this is by pointing and prompting your child to use descriptive phrases for everyday objects by asking, “what is that” or “what type” for instance. This way, they learn how to put their words together and how they can be used in a simple way.
Develop an easy-to-understand tone of voice
When children are first learning verbal skills it can be difficult to understand them at first because they are just learning how to imitate sounds and tones the right way to form words and phrases.
By the time they are three, toddlers should have a generally clear and easy-to-understand tone so that adults who know the child can understand at least half of their speech. If their tone is too raspy or nasal sounding, this can turn into a tonal issue that will make it hard for other adults to understand the child as they grow.
If your child is three or turning, pay close attention to whether or not they have acquired these fundamental language skills.
If you’re noticing delays, remember that delays aren’t always specifically related oral or neural impairment. Reminder, every child is different and develop at different rates and different ways.
But, it’s always worth it to visit a speech pathologist to have your child’s language-development needs assessed so they can get the help they need.
Contact us now for a free consultation!