There are many exciting milestones children achieve in their early years of life. Learning to speak is one of them and many parents wait in anticipation of what their child's first words will be but many don't know the steps their children will take to get there.
Sergio Afonso, a language expert with Absolute Translations shared his expert findings with BabyGaga where he details the four stages of language development in children. The ability to talk is a huge milestone that babies start learning from day one.
Young toddlers learn to speak in four different stages and knowing all of them will help you as a parent encourage your child to speak and help them along. Keep reading to help your little one stay on track.
The first stage is quite aptly titled the one-word stage. Infants aren't born with the ability to make sounds with purpose. Most sounds newborns make are involuntary (think gas) or crying. Babies are able to recognize their mother's voice at just a few weeks old and soon after begin to babble and coo.
When it comes to actually saying a real word, that doesn't happen until 9- 18 months old. These first words are simple, one syllable common words baby hears often. Common first words are mama, dada, milk, dog, etc.
After the one-word stage, it's only natural for the two-word stage to be next. As your baby learns more words and gets a bit older, they'll start combining words. Children from 18-24 months of age will also begin to understand you better even if they don't listen very well. As the parent, you'll be able to (kind of) decipher what your child is saying.
It's exciting to be able to carry a conversation with your child for the first time. According to Afonso, the funniest part of this stage is that toddlers can't form grammatically correct sentences causing their two-word conversation to sound more like commands.
Early Multi-Word Stage
Around 24-30 months of age, kids hit the early multi-word stage which is also known as the telegraphic stage of the language. Here, you will see your little one start forming whole sentences. They will leave out prepositions (to, for, on), conjunctions (because, but), and auxiliary verbs (is, has) but Afonso notes, "progress is rapid during this stage and you will see a surge in the child’s language development."
Children in this stage will begin adding -ing to the proper words using the third person and talking in the past tense. This is when their storytelling gets really fun!
Later Multi-Word Stage
A child in the later multi-word stage will start sounding like a little person speaking more clearly. According to Afonso, "At approximately 30 months, your child should have a good grasp of communicating with you and will be able to form grammatical and functional sentences." Over time, sentences will get longer and more complex. Your child will surprise you with what they say and how well they understand conversations.
Your child will soon have the ability to say what they want whenever the like, for better or worse. By 8 years old, a child should be able to have "adult-like" conversations.
If you have any concerns for your child's language development, reach out to your pediatrician. There are resources that can help. Thank you to Sergio Afonso for sharing these four stages of development.