will I grow out of it?

Speech & Language Development - Milestones
Speech Delay - Warning Signs

Small boy playing outside.

ages 2 to 3 years

  • combines words in 2-3 word sentences such as "me do it"
  • follows simple directions e.g. "put the teddy-bear to bed"
  • answers simple questions e.g. "what's your name?", "which one is the big doll?"
  • can put a toy "in", "on", "under" when asked
  • answers simple questions about objects e.g. "which one do we eat with?"

warning signs

  • does your child show frustration when trying to talk?
  • do you have difficulty understanding your child's speech?
  • does your child put 2 words together?


activities 24 to 30 months

  • Your child should begin to identify pictures in place of the actual object. If you have a book or some pictures of words she uses (i.e. ball, cup, spoon, etc.) you can ask her to identify them. You can also see if she can match two pictures that are alike and knows when they are different.
  • Expose your child to different surroundings and the vocabulary that would be used in them. Take walks, go shopping, plant a garden, have a picnic, clean the house or yard together, etc. Talk about the new situations before they happen, while they are happening, and when you are done.
  • At this age it is fun to begin imitating sounds of objects and animals with your child. Bark like dogs, chirp like birds, make fire engine noises, etc.
  • Ask your child lots of questions to stimulate his thought and language. When he is telling you about things he is doing praise him for his efforts in communicating.
  • Some additional speech and language your child should be exhibiting are as follows:
    • uses two word combinations
    • uses pronouns - 'my', 'mine', 'you' and 'me'.
    • refers to self by name
    • uses negative phrases such as "not go", "no want", etc.
    • stays with an activity for 6-7 minutes
    • builds a small tower with blocks
    • carries on a conversation with dolls and self


activities 30 to 36 months

  • When playing with blocks or other objects, she should be able to understand the concept of one. If she has 6 blocks and you ask her for one, she should be able to hand you just one block.
  • At this age, you should begin introducing your child to 'big' and 'little'. While playing with him, have several different sizes of blocks and ask him for a little one or a big one.
  • Playing a simple memory game with your child is good at this age. She should be able to remember two digits or letters. You say two numbers, i.e. 2 and 5 and see if she can repeat them back.
  • Your child should understand the use of objects. Ask him, "What do we use to comb our hair?, drink our milk?, cut with?, etc.
  • Other speech and language characteristics your child should exhibit:
    • Uses two - three word combinations
    • Repeats simple sentences
    • Follows simple commands (Put the blocks in the box.)
    • Should be articulating consonants more clearly (b, k, d, f, g, etc.)

Activity suggestions are courtesy of Laura Renfroe Christiensen, a Speech Pathologist working with children from birth to 18 months of age.

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