Language Development in the First 5 Years
[ This information is taken from Speech Pathology Australia ]
Although there is a general pattern with children’s language development, it is important to note that each individual child will acquire language at a different rate.
What should I expect from a one year old?
A one year old should:
- Respond to familiar sounds such as a phone ringing or a car on the driveway
- Understand simple commands such as ‘no’
- Recognise their own name
- Understand the names of familiar objects or people
- Say ‘dad’, ‘mamma’ and ‘nanna’ etc
- Enjoy songs, music and books
- Try to make familiar sounds such as a car, plane or animal noises
What should a two year old be able to do?
A two year old should:
- Say the names of simple body parts, such as nose or tummy
- Listen to stories and say the names of pictures
- Understand simple sentences such as ‘where‘s your shoe?’
- Use more than fifty words such as ‘no, gone, mine, bear/teddy’
- Talk to themselves or their toys during play
- Sing simple songs such as ‘twinkle, twinkle little star’
- Use some pronouns such as ‘he’ or ‘it’
- Try simple sentences such as ‘milk all gone’
What should I expect for a three year old?
A three year old should:
- Understand how objects are used e.g a chair is something we sit on
- Recognise their own needs such as hunger
- Follow basic directions
- Use 3-4 word sentences
- Begin to use basic grammar
- Enjoy telling stories and asking questions
- Have favourite books and TV programs
- Be understood by familiar adults
What should a four year old be able to do?
A four year should:
- Understand shapes and colours
- Understand some time words such as lunch, today and summer
- Ask who, what and why questions
- Use lots of words, about 900 , usually in four to five word sentences
- Use correct grammar with occasional mistakes such as ‘I falled down’
- Use language when playing with other children
- Speak clearly enough to be understood by most people
What should I expect for a five year old?
A five year old should:
- Understand opposites such as high/low, wet/dry, big/little
- Use sentences of about six words using correct grammar
- Talk about events which are happening, have happened or might happen
- Explain why something happens such as ‘mum’s car stopped because the petrol ran out’
- Explain the function of objects, e.g ‘this hair band keeps my hair away from my face.’
- Follow three directions e.g ‘stand up, get your shoes on and wait by the door’
- Say how they feel and tell you their ideas
- Become interested in writing, numbers and reading things
- Speak clearly enough to be understood by anyone.