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Milestones

Every child learns at their own pace. Most children will reach speech, language and communication milestones in their own time.
However knowing roughly what to expect and when can be helpful. It can often reassure us our child is on track. It can also help parents and carers know if they should seek advice and support.
If you do have any worries there is always someone to talk to – see the ‘who can help’ section below

Children’s language skills build stage by stage – children have to grow these skills step by step as you can see in the ‘pyramid’ below. There are many ways you can help your child grow the attention span, understanding and confidence to reach their milestones.

 

  • Whilst we do not expect small babies to ‘talk’ to us they are ‘communicating’ from birth.
    As parents and carers we are learning to understand our baby and our baby is learning to understand us.

    The first 12 months of your babies life is a time when babies learn to make and respond to sounds.
    To begin with babies may cry a lot as carers are still getting used to the earlier ‘cues’ babies use to tell us their needs.
    As time goes by babies often begin to cry less as they become confident that their carers understand them and are there for them.
    Your baby is watching, learning and growing in confidence that you will meet their needs.
    • Firstly your baby will begin to make eye contact and look at you
    • They will start to turn towards noises and voices – they may quieten when they hear you coming
    • You will start to get smiles in response to your smiling and chatting

    As time passes they will begin to make more and more different sounds cooing and squealing – sometimes surprising themselves with the noises they can make

    • At around 4 – 6 months babies will get to know the sound of their name and will react to different tones of voice.
    • By about 8 months babies will point and reach to let you know what they are interested in
    • At 10 months babies will often be babbling – putting two noises together like ‘dada’ or ‘gaga’ they will really enjoy these noises and will use different sounds and volumes.
    • At around 12 months you will begin to notice there are about ten words they understand.
    • They will follow some simple instructions like; ‘give to daddy’ or ‘come here’ – when they are in the mood!

    As they reach their first birthday your baby may have the odd word – usually for someone or something very familiar.

    All the way along the response they get from you will make all the difference. When parents and carers show interest and praise the sounds, actions and words babies try out it will motivate them to try more.

  • As babies reach their first birthday they will still be pointing and reaching and there will be lots of babbling.
    This often sounds like a ‘real’ conversation and your baby will enjoy it if you pretend you know what they are saying and join in with them.
    • At 1-2 years your baby will understand more and more. They will respond to their name and follow more simple instructions like “get teddy “throw ball”
    • At about 18 months your child will understand around 50 words including some body parts.
    • Their speech will become clearer to you over time
    • They begin to put some words together like ‘all gone’ or ‘Daddy’s car’

    Year Two to Three
    Your toddler will be understanding more and more and be trying out more words.
    • They will respond to questions ‘ where is your coat?’ and follow instructions like ‘ find your shoes’
    • You might notice they are putting more words together ‘milk all gone’, ‘Mummy’s big bag’. They will understand words like ‘on’ and ‘in’
    • They may know about four parts of their body.
    • Two year olds will know about 50 to 200 words
    At around this age children are more easily understood by people other than their family.

  • Your toddler will be understanding more and more and be trying out more words.
    • They will respond to questions ‘ where is your coat?’ and follow instructions like ‘ find your shoes’
    • You might notice they are putting more words together ‘milk all gone’, ‘Mummy’s big bag’. They will understand words like ‘on’ and ‘in’
    • They may know about four parts of their body.
    • Two year olds will know about 50 to 200 words
    At around this age children are more easily understood by people other than their family.

  • Most 3-4 year olds will;
    • Speak in short sentences of 4-5 words.
    • Be able to tell simple stories.
    • Ask lots of questions ‘why’ becomes a favourite word. This is an important way children find out and understand more about the world around them

    Your child may know some colours and shapes and will enjoy showing you what they know.
    Children will enjoy ‘pretending’ when they play. They enjoy ‘acting out’ the things they see and hear happening around them.

    Between 3-4 years children are able to understand 2 part questions or instructions “put the book in the bag and find your shoes please.”
    Speech is clear enough to be understood most of the time by familiar people. You shouldn’t worry if they still muddle some sounds.

    Playing, reading, chatting with parents and carers will help your child gain more and more words, understanding and confidence in speech and communication.
    Uninterrupted time spent being with and talking to your child has many benefits and is important through out their whole childhood. As well as keeping a strong bond between you it builds self esteem and social skills helping your child become a confident communicator.
    There are lots of videos available here on JustOneNorfolk to give you ideas on how to help your child develop their communication and language skills.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

*Click Here* to speak to other Norfolk parents and carers on our online community forum. 

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