Stages of Language Development Everything You NEED To Know

Stages of Language Development
Everything You NEED To Know

We've compiled information about the stages of language development from many reliable sources to make a complete, but simple, list of what your child is expected to do at each age. 

Your child's early years are some of the most vital for communication development.

Communication is what makes us who we are and it is how we relate to one another so it is important to get a good start

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Before Birth

Communication begins even before a baby is born.

Just ask any expecting mother about communicating with their baby and they will tell you that they know how their baby is feeling by the baby's movements. 

If that isn't communication...

...I don't know what is!

Make sure you talk to your unborn baby and even play him/her a little music. That's right, put those headphones on your belly!

After Birth

Early communication skills develop very fast!

One week can make a huge difference in a child's abilities. I know, because when my daughter was just over 18 months, I had to try not to play the "baby comparison" game.

You know you are playing it when you make friends with parents who have children the same age as yours and you just can't help but notice the differences. 

You note areas where your child can doing something better than another child and areas where your child isn't as good either. 

I caution you on this because... is not healthy for you or your child.

Every child is different.

Children learn new skills so quickly during the early years that even a week difference is not comparable. 

That being said, however, you need to keep a good-eye on the development of your child's speech and language milestones.

Because your child is developing so fast, a couple of months delay, now, can turn into bigger problems later. 

Use our website *wink *wink to know what your child should be doing, and do not use other children for speech and language milestones. 

Early speech and language skills develop during: 

3 Main Stages

Pre-Linguistic Stage 0-18 Months

Before Speech and Language

Emerging Language Stage 1.5 - 2 Years

Speech and Language are Beginning

Developing Language Stage 2-3 Years

Language is Still Developing

SEE ALSO: The Best Free App for Speech Therapy

To provide the best opportunity during the stages of language development and to help you meet each milestone there are...

2 Things Parents Should Do


A child needs to hear a word at least 100 times before he/she can begin to say it!

So whatever words you want your child to say, you need to say them a lot.

In other words, talk to your child everywhere!

  • Talk when you are are eating.

  • Talk when you are cooking.

  • Talk when you are cleaning.

  • Talk when you are driving.

  • Talk when you are shopping.

For those of you who are kind of on the quiet side, I know this is going to be tough but your child's stages of language development depend on it.

The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.

Sometimes I catch myself when I haven't talked to my daughter for an hour because I was completely consumed in a thought or task. 

Talking is absolutely the BEST thing you can for you child's speech and language.


This does not mean let your child get his/her way. 

It does mean, when you and your child are interacting, playing, or learning... what they want to do...

...and... interested in what they are interested in.

SEE ALSO: The Best Books for Speech Therapy Practice

Speech therapy books for targeting multiple goals

For example:

You and your child are playing with a toy truck and he/she suddenly gets interested in a book. 

Don't keep trying to make them play with the truck. Switch your focus and talk about or play with the book.

Believe it or not...

You will build on your child's stages of language development faster when you do something they choose compared to something you choose for them.

Children make choices and have preferences (although sometimes by accident) even during these early stages. 

Follow their lead with what they are interested in, when appropriate (obviously don't do something harmful, wasteful, etc.) and they will learn skills more quickly.

Have fun and best of luck to you and your child as you grow together during the special time of language development!

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Additional Resources

Parents’ Guide to Language Delays and Speech Disorders in Children - Article from Baylor University