will I grow out of it?

Speech and Language Development - Milestones
Speech Delay - Warning Signs

Young boy holding a Blankie.

age - 4 to 5 years

  • follows 3 related directions such as "get your crayons, make a picture and give it to the baby"
  • speaks sounds accurately except perhaps for l, r, s, k, th, ch, sh (The 'r', 'l', and 'y' (as in yellow) are difficult and can come as late as 8 years old)
  • more reasoning - answers questions such as "What do you do when you are sleepy/thirsty?" or "What should you do if you hurt yourself?"
  • describes objects and events
  • can show you "top", "bottom", and several colors
  • can give meanings of words

warning signs

  • does your child not use complete sentences?
  • does your child stutter?
  • does your child not seem to be able to follow directions?


activities - 4 to 4 1/2 years old

Your child should be able to do the following:

  • Recognize colors. Play "I Spy" to help develop this concept. "I Spy something in the room that is green", then let your child "spy" something and you guess.
  • Distinguish with differences. Play a game while riding in the car. Which one is heavier...a bird or a cow? Also do the opposite...Which one is lighter...a mommy or a baby?
  • Should be able to repeat four digits. Say 3-4-2-5 and let your child repeat that back. Then try four different digits and repeat, etc.
  • A child should begin to learn opposites. Ask "Brother is a boy, sister is a ?", "In daytime it is light, at night it is ?"
  • A child should begin to comprehend the senses. What do you do with your eyes? your ears? your nose? etc.
  • Your child should be able to comprehend remote events. Ask them "What do you do when you have lost something", "What do you do before you cross the street?", etc.


activities - 4 1/2 to 5 years old

  • Comprehends right and left. Ask your child to show their hands and then place them on their head. Now ask which is the right hand?, the left?
  • A child should be able to repeat taps or claps. Say "Can you do this..." tap the table twice with your hand...tap four times...tap three times, etc.
  • When shown a group of pictures your child should be able to identify them by action..."Which one swims in water?", "Which one tells time?", etc.
  • Children at this age should be able to point to all major body parts...head, arm, thumb, hand, knee, heel, chin, eyebrow, little finger, elbow, wrist, ankle, etc. One fun way of seeing if they understand the body parts is to play "Simon Says". "Simon says raise your arms"..."Wave your hand" (if your child waves then you can say "Oh Oh! Simon didn't say...").
  • Your child should now be able to identify coins. When coins are laid out in front of them, they should be able to point to the nickel, penny, quarter, and dime. 
  • A child should be able to name the common animals at this age. Sing "Old MacDonald" to identify farm animals. Pretend you are going to a zoo and ask what animals you might find there.

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

This page is sponsored by www.blankees.com