In a few years, children go from being able to say a few words to talking non-stop. Children’s communication charity I CAN explains what happens, when.
Children typically say their first words at around a year old. They haven’t mastered all the sounds yet, so their words won’t sound the same as an adult’s.
By two years old, children can usually say about 50 words. They also start to put two words together into phrases like ‘more juice’ or ‘mummy shoes’. There will still be sounds they can’t say, so it might not always sound very clear.
By this stage your child is likely to use four- or five-word sentences. They’ll probably be asking lots of questions, and enjoy listening to simple stories. By the time they’re three and a half, their speech should be clear to everyone.
As they reach four years old, children are able to have longer conversations. They can also talk about things that happened in the past, though you might still hear “I runned” instead of “I ran”.
At five, your child should be able to understand more complicated language. They’ll talk in well-formed sentences, and should understand longer instructions.
Language learning doesn’t stop here. Children will keep developing skills through their school years and into young adulthood.
Children’s understanding always develops before talking. They’ll be able to understand much more than they can say at first. When they’re very young, words and sounds will be new (and exciting) to them. It’s all about practice.
We take your safety and privacy seriously
You don’t have to share your details with us – there are lots of reasons why you might want to remain anonymous, which we will respect. All calls are confidential, and we will always seek your agreement before we share any of your details with other organisations. The only time we will share information without your consent is if we think there is a life-threatening situation, or if you or someone else might be at risk of significant harm. On these occasions we may need to contact the Police, Ambulance Service or Children’s Social Care.
We also share anonymised data with the commissioners of this service. By using Parent Talk, you understand and give your explicit consent to this.
Your email address will not be used for any reason beyond giving you parenting information, support and advice.