How to Know If Your Child Is Meeting Important Milestones

By: Mrs. Barb Olson, MS, CCC-SLP

Parents often wonder if their child is hitting big milestones (like crawling, walking or talking) at the right age.

But did you know, even before a child learns to talk, there are certain developmental milestones related to speech they should be reaching?

All children are different, but here are some set guidelines that can help tell if a child might need a little extra help:

  • 0-3 months – will smile or quiet when spoken to.
  • 4-6 months – should notice sounds around them and show when they are excited or displeased.
  • 1 year – react to simple statements like “no” or “come here” and recognize words for common items.
  • 1 to 2 years – start saying beginning or ending sounds such as /p/, /b/, /m/, point to pictures when named, say a new word each month, understand and follow a one-step instruction.
  • 2 years – can say two words together and talks during pretend play, saying things like “beep-beep” when playing with cars.
  • 2 to 3 years – understands and follows two-step instructions and understands basic concepts such as opposites.
  • 3 years – can say three words together such as “see that dog.”
  • 3 to four years – able to ask their own questions, answer simple questions, talk simply with other children or adults, and puts words together using simple grammar.
  • 4 years – can say four words together.

Once your child starts talking and enters school, some signs your child might need a little more help are:

  • Problems saying words or sounds.
  • Poor grades.
  • Struggles reading, writing, spelling or taking notes in class.
  • Missing teacher instructions or trouble following directions.
  • Difficulty listening or disruptive classroom behavior.
  • Stuttering.
  • Concussions.
  • Poor social skills such as problems making or keeping friends, not understanding sarcasm and rude behavior.

At any age, if you feel your child may be struggling, talk to your Primary Care Provider (PCP). They can help you get a free speech and language consultation to find out if your child may need a little extra help.

If your child needs help, it is often covered by health insurance. We will work with your PCP, school, teachers, and your family to make sure everyone is on the same page and they get the best help they can.

For more information or to ask questions, call 402-395-3109 or email