Q: How do I know if my toddler’s speech is normal?
All children develop language skills at a different pace, so the range of “normal” is very broad. However, we do follow certain guidelines to determine if toddlers are acquiring language appropriately. At the age of 2, a typically developing child should:
- Speak in two-word phrases (“more milk,” “go bye-bye”)
- Follow two-step instructions
- Have a vocabulary of greater than 50 words
- Be easily understood at least 50 percent of the time.
By the age of 3, children should:
- Speak in three-word sentences
- Have a vocabulary of over 200 words
- Be understood 75 percent of the time
- Use pronouns correctly (me, you, it)
- Understand prepositions (on, under).
If you are concerned that your child’s language development is not on track, talk to your pediatric provider sooner rather than later. The earlier that speech delay is identified, the easier it is for children to catch up.
—Allison Meade, pediatric nurse practitioner at The Vancouver Clinic