What are the developmental milestones for a toddler?

By the age of one, your baby should be able to:

  • Say dad, mumma and a few other words
  • Try to make familiar sounds, such as car and animal noises
  • Respond to familiar sounds such as the telephone ringing, vacuum cleaner or a car in the driveway
  • Understand simple commands such as "no!"
  • Recognise their own name
  • Understand the names of familiar objects and people
  • Enjoy songs, music and books.

By the age of two most children start to talk to themselves and you can seen their language and communication skills starting to develop:

  • Listen to stories and say the names of the pictures
  • Understand simple sentences, such as "where's your shoe?"
  • Say the names of simple body parts such as nose or tummy
  • Use more than 50 words such as "no", "gone", "mine" and "teddy"
  • Talk to themselves or their toys in play
  • Sing simple songs such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little star" or "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep"
  • Try simple sentences such as "Milk all gone"
  • Use some simple pronouns such as "he", "if"
  • Should be able to say m, n and h correctly.

By the age of three, your child's communication should be understood by family, close friends and regular carers and they should be able to:

  • Understand how objects are used e.g. a crayon is something you draw with
  • Recognise their own needs such as hunger
  • Follow directions
  • Understand basic concepts (in/under, hot/cold)
  • Use 3-4 word sentences
  • Understand basic grammar
  • Enjoy telling stories and asking questions
  • Should be able to say p, b, m, n, ng, w, y, t, d, k, g and f

By the age of four, your child should be able to be understood most of the time by most people.  If you find friends and acquaintances can not understand your child's express then perhaps a visit to a therapist may be warranted.  Your child should be able to:

  • Understand shape and colour names
  • Understand "wh" questions such as "where are they going?" or "why did he fall?"
  • Understand "time" words such as lunchtime, today, winter
  • Use lots of words (900+) and understand complex sentences
  • Use 4-5 word sentences
  • Use correct grammar most of the time
  • Use language when playing with other children
  • Should be able to say s, z, sh, ch and j

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  If you are concerned about any aspect of your baby or toddler's speech or language please give us a call.

Click here for milestones for school age children.


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