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
We will only share personal information shared in the live chat if we need to talk to other professionals to get the best support for you. In the majority of cases, we will discuss this with you first. We also share anonymised data with the commissioners of this service. By using Talk, you understand and give your explicit consent to this.
You do not have to share personal information if you do not wish to.
Your email address will not be used for any reason beyond giving you parenting information, support and advice.