Speech & Language Skills


The 1st Year 

Up to the first year, Baby will babble using a variety of sounds. This will begin to change into meaningful production of sounds that become speech.

First words are often reduplicated syllable (e.g. ‘mama’ for mum) or single syllables (e.g. ‘ba’ for ball). Babbling will continue but should eventually decrease as Baby acquires more words.

Baby should also begin to understand simple communicative acts (e.g. waving goodbye) and understand simple words and commands in specific contexts. For example, Baby will start to respond to his or her name, and turn towards mum when told to look at Mummy.

Baby will also begin to understand ‘no’ and may possibly stop what he or she is doing when given that command.


The 2nd Year 

Your toddler should continue to pick up more vocabulary, and be able to name objects and simple body parts.

Toddlers at this stage will begin to use simple 2-word sentences and start asking simple stereotyped ‘what’s that?’ questions and ‘yes/no’ questions, with appropriate intonation. 

The 3rd Year 

Your child’s ‘I want biscuits, Mama’ should sound much clearer now. In fact, your child will be able to name 3 main body parts and start to use 3 to 4-word sentences to communicate most needs by 3 years of age, with your encouragement.

Your child may be able to say ‘My blue balloon is on the table’. He or she will also produce several forms of questions, using ‘Where’ and ‘Who’.

It is important to introduce different words to your child and to teach him or her how to use those words. Your child’s vocabulary can be expected to reach approximately 300 to 1000 words at this age, even if your child may not use all those words often. 

It’s time to start having conversations with your child! 

The 4th Year

Your child will begin to use 4 to 8 word sentences and will be able to engage you in a conversation! Your child now can’t wait to tell you everything that’s happened since morning!

At this age, the child’s expressive vocabulary is expected to be between 800 to 1500 words, with receptive vocabulary of at least 2800 words. Your child will now be able to listen to a story attentively and answer simple questions about the story.

With improving grammar, your child will now frequently asks questions including ‘why’, and start to demand details in responses. For instance, your child will want to know why he or she cannot eat sweets now or why he can have only one sweet.

From this age, your child’s ability to understanding concepts increases. For instance, if you ask your child to place the doll in the toy box which is on the table, your child will understand your instruction and will be able to perform the task correctly. 

The 5th Year 

Using detailed and grammatically complete sentences, your child is now exchanging information and is able to communicate easily with adults and other children.

Your child – the storyteller – will be able to accurately relate a story and discuss events like his or her birthday celebrations! And if you were to tell your child a story, he or she will now be able to answer your questions relating to the story.

The 6th Year 

Your child will now be able to describe his or her experiences – past, present and future – in a logical sequence. Imagine that!

For instance, if your child fell because he or she was not looking and suffered a nasty cut on the knees, your child will be able to describe the sequence of events in some detail to you.

Expect that your child is able to repeat a story or poem that you have just read to him or her. Expressively, your child is now learning to join sentences using ‘and’, so get ready for some really long sentences!