10 Stages Towards Talking

Track your child's speech development with these ten stages of early language formation.

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Stage 1: 12 to 22 Months

When babies first learn to talk, they pair simple words into short phrases. You may hear them combine an action word with a subject, or they may say a single word, "no," with a rising intonation. It is not unusual for babies to list multiple subjects without separating them with the word "and." They often combine two words to make simple phrases, like: all gone, no nap, or up now.

Stage 2: 22 to 20 Months

Children embarking on their terrible twos may use "no" and "not" interchangeably. They start to use the prepositions "in" and "on," and the conjunction "and." Their sentences start to take form as they combine subjects, verbs and objects: "Dolly want milk" or "I want nap."

Stage 3: 27 to 28 Months

Toddlers have curious minds as they inquire about and explore the world around them. Language starts to boom as they ask questions and take in answers. They can form 3 to 4 word questions: "Where Momma going?"

Stage 4: 28 to 30 Months

Children in the prime of their terrible twos acquire new ways of saying no, as they also say "can't," "don't," and "not." You may also hear them use the words "gonna," "wanna," or "gotta." Don't be surprised to hear your child yell out from a shopping cart in the supermarket, "I gotta have candy! I don't wanna sit."

Stage 5: 31 to 32 Months

Toddlers continue to listen and learn as they hear adults talk around them. They pick up the words "but," "so," and "or." You may also hear them incorporate "can," "do," "will," "have," and "be" into their vocabularies. You may hear your toddler embed negative words in sentences, like "Billy can't play!"

Stage 6: 33 to 34 Months

Auxiliary verbs like "do," "can," and "will" begin to pop up in questions. "Will you help me?" Toddlers approaching age 3 also start to use the word "won't," making for a more complete vocabulary of negative words for terrible twos.

Stage 7: 35 to 37 Months

Sentences and questions become more complex. Children more smoothly integrate auxiliary verbs - can, do, will, have - into sentences and questions. You may hear your young one say, "I will not eat veggies," or "Where will we go?"

Stage 8: 38 to 40 Months

Your youngster is learning so much everyday through play and conversation. Your kiddo's vocabulary will grow with the words "isn't," "aren't," "didn't," and "doesn't." The words "when" and "how" are used in questions as children wonder how things in the world truly work and operate.

Stage 9: 41 to 46 Months

Your soon-to-be preschooler's language and sentence formation continues to mature. You may hear her use the words "wasn't," "wouldn't," "couldn't," and "shouldn't." She may use the word "with" to join clauses: "I want cheese pizza with pepperoni please."

Stage 10: 47+ Months

Observing your young one's vocabulary and language grow everyday can be exciting. Remember your kiddo is still learning, and she may have difficulty with double negatives: "I can't not eat it" or "I don't play no ball." You may hear her say "nobody," "no one," "none," or "nothing." Questions become more complex, as your child adds onto one-word why questions as she wonders and inquires.

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