Milestones


Learn about the best ways to improve your child’s language and communication at their different ages.

These milestones focus on children's communication development. Read about the different things you can do with your child at different stages to help them with their talking skills.

Pre birth

Your baby is beginning to hear your voice from within the womb.

Things to do:

  • Read stories, sing songs/rhymes and tell your bump about their new home!

6-12 months

Your baby is starting to understand some words like mummy and milk. They may start to string babble together such as ‘ba ba ba ba’, ‘ma ma ma ma’. They are beginning to make noises to communicate and get your attention.

Things to do:

  • Sing songs for different activities. For example, 5 little ducks at bath-time and twinkle twinkle at bedtime.
  • Use action when introducing new words. For example, lift arm to mouth for drink.
  • Play peek-a-boo with different scarves and fabrics.

18-24 months

Your toddler is understanding and saying more words. They are starting to put 2-3 words together.

Things to do:

  • Encourage your toddler to join in the actions of rhymes. For example, Wheels on the bus.
  • Fill a basket with familiar everyday objects belonging to your child. For example, cup, shoe, book. Take out each object saying the name and encourage your child to listen and copy the word.
  • Play ‘where’s teddy’ around the house or garden. For example, put the teddy in the bed. Say ‘teddy is in the bed’ as you do it. Encourage your child to have a turn.

3-4 years

They are beginning to understand stories and answer questions about story books. They are beginning to ask questions like, what, why and when?

Things to do:

  • Read stories and encourage your children to point and talk about the pictures.
  • Go on a ‘sound’ walk around the garden, the house or park. Collect, draw, take pictures and listen to the sounds you hear. Extend what your child says. For example, ‘Yes, that is a bird in a tree’.
  • Collect teddies and toys of different colours and sizes. Talk about big and small.

0-6 months

Your baby's vision is developing and they love to see your face. They are starting to smile, make gurgles, cooing and babbling.

Things to do:

  • Continue to talk, sing and read to your baby. Keep them close so they can see your face, sing rhymes where you can touch their face, for example: Round and round the garden.
  • Respond to their noises. They are talking to you!
  • Take them on a walk around the house, garden, and shops. Tell them what you can see.
  • Tickle their face and body with a feather, sing a song or make up your own tickle rhyme.

12-18 months

Your baby is starting to say simple words like, ‘car’, ‘cup’ and ‘dog’. They are understanding more and can point to objects when asked. They are beginning to copy what adults say.

Things to do:

  • Put pictures or toys which represent a familiar rhyme in a bag. For example, a spider for Incy Wincy spider. Encourage your baby to take out the picture and sing the rhyme with them.
  • Take pictures of familiar sights and objects along a familiar journey, use them as talking points when you are out and about or make them into a little book and tie it to the pram e.g. a lamp post, tree, the post office

2-3 years

Your toddler maybe starting to use up to 4-5 words in sentences. They are beginning to understand longer instructions.

Things to do:

  • Sing familiar songs and rhymes, but pause before saying the last word to encourage your toddler to fill in the rhyme.
  • Hide feely objects in a bag or hat. For example, a brush or shell. Encourage your child to feel the object and say what it’s called. Add words such as ‘prickly’ brush.

4-5 years

They are beginning to understand more complicated language. They are beginning to take turns in longer conversations.

Things to do:

  • Make sock puppets and re-tell familiar stories with them.
  • Play with instruction games. Using bricks, give simple instructions to your child to make an object. For example, ‘Put the yellow brick on top of the green brick’. Take turns and let your child give instructions.

For more information on child development and language, visit:
www.talkingpoint.org.uk
www.wordsforlife.org.uk

Learn about the best ways to improve your child’s language and communication at their different ages.

These milestones focus on children's communication development. Read about the different things you can do with your child at different stages to help them with their talking skills.

Pre birth

Your baby is beginning to hear your voice from within the womb.

Things to do:

  • Read stories, sing songs/rhymes and tell your bump about their new home!

0-6 months

Your baby's vision is developing and they love to see your face. They are starting to smile, make gurgles, cooing and babbling.

Things to do:

  • Continue to talk, sing and read to your baby. Keep them close so they can see your face, sing rhymes where you can touch their face, for example: Round and round the garden.
  • Respond to their noises. They are talking to you!
  • Take them on a walk around the house, garden, and shops. Tell them what you can see.
  • Tickle their face and body with a feather, sing a song or make up your own tickle rhyme.

6-12 months

Your baby is starting to understand some words like mummy and milk. They may start to string babble together such as ‘ba ba ba ba’, ‘ma ma ma ma’. They are beginning to make noises to communicate and get your attention.

Things to do:

  • Sing songs for different activities. For example, 5 little ducks at bath-time and twinkle twinkle at bedtime.
  • Use action when introducing new words. For example, lift arm to mouth for drink.
  • Play peek-a-boo with different scarves and fabrics.

12-18 months

Your baby is starting to say simple words like, ‘car’, ‘cup’ and ‘dog’. They are understanding more and can point to objects when asked. They are beginning to copy what adults say.

Things to do:

  • Put pictures or toys which represent a familiar rhyme in a bag. For example, a spider for incy wincy spider. Encourage your baby to take out the picture and sing the rhyme with them.
  • Take pictures of familiar places, use them as talking points and tie them to the car seat or buggy. For example, All the things you see on the way to the park, or to see family and friends…

18-24 months

Your toddler is understanding and saying more words. They are starting to put 2-3 words together.

Things to do:

  • Encourage your toddler to join in the actions of rhymes. For example, Wheels on the bus.
  • Fill a basket with familiar everyday objects belonging to your child. For example, cup, shoe, book. Take out each object saying the name and encourage your child to listen and copy the word.
  • Play ‘where’s teddy’ around the house or garden. For example, put the teddy in the bed. Say ‘teddy is in the bed’ as you do it. Encourage your child to have a turn.

2-3 years

Your toddler maybe starting to use up to 4-5 words in sentences. They are beginning to understand longer instructions.

Things to do:

  • Sing familiar songs and rhymes, but pause before saying the last word to encourage your toddler to fill in the rhyme.
  • Hide feely objects in a bag or hat. For example, a brush or shell. Encourage your child to feel the object and say what it’s called. Add words such as ‘prickly’ brush.

3-4 years

They are beginning to understand stories and answer questions about story books. They are beginning to ask questions like, what, why and when?

Things to do:

  • Read stories and encourage your children to point and talk about the pictures.
  • Go on a ‘sound’ walk around the garden, the house or park. Collect, draw, take pictures and listen to the sounds you hear. Extend what your child says. For example, ‘Yes, that is a bird in a tree’.
  • Collect teddies and toys of different colours and sizes. Talk about big and small.

4-5 years

They are beginning to understand more complicated language. They are beginning to take turns in longer conversations.

Things to do:

  • Make sock puppets and re-tell familiar stories with them.
  • Play with instruction games. Using bricks, give simple instructions to your child to make an object. For example, ‘Put the yellow brick on top of the green brick’. Take turns and let your child give instructions.

For more information on child development and language, visit:
www.talkingpoint.org.uk
www.wordsforlife.org.uk

Download a useful guide on what to expect as your child grows

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for advice about your child's learning and development? We answer your frequently asked questions here.

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