|As your child develops,
increase your level of communication as well. Talking "baby
talk" to a toddler may sound nurturing, but too much of it will
not add to her vocabulary. Be especially aware of the use of
pronouns. Pronouns for young children are tricky. "Does Jimmy
want another cookie" is fine for the baby. It helps teach Jimmy
his name. For toddlers, it's important to expose them to proper
pronoun usage. Be patient, however, because figuring out that
your "you" is actually my "I" may take a little time.
Here is a general "rule of thumb" for your child's speech
6 months to 1 year: Your baby should be recognizing
words often used to meet basic needs. Words like "bottle" and
"bye-bye" should provide a recognition response. This is a sign
that your baby is developing her receptive language.
12 months to 24 months: Your baby should be able to follow short
demands or requests. "Jimmy, come over here," or "Find your
doll." The concept of "no" is one that is often the first to be
During this period of time parents should be pointing things
out in the child's environment and labeling them. "Ball, see the
ball." Facial features and body part are also important to
label. "Show me where your nose is. Good! Now you say nose.
2 years to 3 years: Your child should develop a vocabulary of
somewhere between 200-400 words. By the end of his third year he
should have a word for everything familiar in his experience.
Also she should link two or three words together to express
requests or describe items. By the end of this period of time
your child should also be able to respond to a two level
request. "Pick up your shoes and take them to your room."
3 years to 4 years: This is the time your child's vocabulary
really expands. Concepts such as future and past are understood.
You can plan and sequence events. The child of four should
correctly use "is" at the beginning of questions and be able to
shift tenses and plurals. "We went (not go) to the store." "My
feet (not foots) are cold."
5 years and older: Children just prior to school should be
able to rhyme words and recognize what words belong in a group.
Like flowers are plants and a cat is a different kind of animal
then a dog. By 6 years of age your child should be using
irregular verbs and articles and prepositions correctly. Most 6
year olds can express full sentences that include going, doing,
having. Their sentences include "a," "the," "are," "an" as well
as "to," "of" and "in." Preschoolers should be able to tell a
fairly long story and answer question and explain why in their
Finally, remember hearing is vital to speech development. If
your child's speech development is lagging or you have any
concern about his/her response to your voice or sounds in the
house, seek professional advice immediately. Keep in mind that
articulation and stuttering may be slow to develop. Children
have very individual rates of development surrounding these two
aspects of speech. Be sensitive not to tease or ridicule slow
speech skills. Increasing a young child's anxiety or making him
self conscious will not speed the process up and may just cause