Language Development Milestones

What should I expect of my child?

It is natural for parents to be constantly worrying about whether their children are reaching a range of milestones (whether it be walking, talking, or reading for example). As parents ourselves, we understand how stressful this can be.

At Chatterbox, we want to try help relieve some of this stress by providing you with research-based norms about what your child is expected to do at different ages. We hope that you find them helpful in gaining a better understanding of what speech and language skills children are expected to have at various ages. These are general guidelines and should not replace a thorough speech and language assessment.

Research strongly indicates that children with delayed speech and language skills are more likely to have poor literacy skills and we have noticed this with many children who come to our speech therapy clinic in Perth.

Please feel free to refer back to our checklists as frequently as you need. You are welcome to print them out or use the interactive feature, which allows you to send the completed form to us, enabling us to contact you and discuss any concerns you may have. Additionally, if you have any concerns, you are always welcome to give us a call and we can help you determine whether any further action is warranted.

1 year old

At this stage most one-year olds enjoy simple nursery rhymes, songs and stories. They can usually recognize their name, understand a few words, and babble with sounds.

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2 year old

As your child turns two, their language development continues and most kids can point to pictures in a book when named, comprehend simple questions, and say at least 50 words.

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3 year old

At the age of 3 your child should start to follow more complex instructions and understand categories. 3-year-olds typically use 4 or 5 words to make short sentences, ask questions and have conversations.

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4 year old

At this exciting age, most 4 year old children typically answer a range of ‘wh-’ questions, make longer sentences and start to develop some pre-literacy skills.

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5 year old

A typically developed 5 year old child starts to understand time words (e.g. ‘before’ ‘later’), uses well-formed sentences to hold longer conversations, and continues to consolidate their early literacy skills.

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6 year old

Your 6 year old should now have a good language foundation and will begin to focus on fine-tuning their grammar and sentence structure, as well as understanding more complex concepts. Literacy skills will continue to develop.

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