As a Speech and Language Pathologist, I am writing this series in hopes to address concerns when it comes to your child’s speech and what to expect if you feel like your child might not be reaching their milestones. If you are just joining us, be sure to start with Part 1 right here.
In the previous post, I covered those terrible, I mean, wonderful two’s! If you’ve survived this year, give yourself a pat on the back. But look out, year three is next and there will be a huge jump in speech and language development for many children. Your child is now using complete sentences, describing daily events and even telling people those little family secrets (like all they eat is chicken nuggets)…no judgement here. But you also may notice that you are the only one who understands those adorable stories. The time from 36-48 months is where you really get to know your child through their language, so here is what to expect over the next year and activities to help your child achieve those goals.
First off, here are the milestones for ages 36-48 months (3-4 year olds.) If you recall, these skills are divided into receptive and expressive language skills.
What you can do to help with speech development:
- Remember that it is OK to have age appropriate articulation errors. Refer to above chart for expected sounds at this age.
- Use books and (gasp) TV to help your child make inferences and predict the next step of a story.
- Allow your child to browse your phone pictures and talk about each event. You just created a storybook starring THEM!! This is a great way to address memory and description skills.
- Model possessives in speech. ex. These are Mommy’s shoes. Where are Daddy’s shoes?
- Have your child tell you the next step in their daily activites. Parent: It’s dinner time. What do we do now? Child: Go wash hands.
- BE PATIENT. Allow your child the time to process the question/activity before requiring a response.
Remember, my biggest advice is to look at your child as an individual and as a whole. Try not to compare to siblings, classmates and other relatives. But, if you do have concerns at this age, then talking to your pediatrician is the first step to determine if there is a developmental delay.
Stay tuned for my final post in the series next week, where I will share my recommendations if your child does have a speech delay.