Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

My granddaughter Hallie has recently made giant leaps with her communication milestones. She progressed along the continuum of saying mama, dada, and nana; those words were followed fairly closely by the other members of her household with more difficult names, papa, “Pak” for Parker, and “Ka” for Anika. Then, she learned “yah yah” for yes and “no no” for no, which made it much easier for her to tell me which YouTube video she wanted to watch (Hallie loves music, and since she was a tiny baby we have watched a few songs each day together – she is particularly fond of Marianna’s Trench).

Those words were followed by “hot” – which she says with a British accent, thanks to her dad, and “cold” and “hot” and “apple.”

But all of a sudden, Hallie is saying things like, “I don’t want to” and “I don’t know” and “I have no idea.”

So far, she is meeting or exceeding communication milestones, which makes her mama happy. I am just trying to get “I have no idea” recorded because it’s so ridiculously cute.

There are basic communication milestones that all parents should know about to make sure their babies are progressing. babbling, cooing and making cognitive connections about the meanings of words. While every child will develop at a different rate, if they miss a milestone or seem delayed, it’s worth checking with your pediatrician. If there is a cognitive reason for the delay, early intervention is key. Regardless of the milestone, if you notice that something’s not right with your child’s speech, it could be a sign of a bigger problem.

Around these ages, your child should be able to do the following:

By 12 Months

When a child reaches 12 months, they should at least be able to say mama or dada. At this age, they should be able to use their gestures to get your attention, like pointing at something they want. They should also be able to clearly say a few of the consonants. And even if they cannot yet say them, they should understand words like bye-bye and no. Your child should be able to say whole words by the time they’re fifteen months and babbling is appropriate at this age.

18 – 24 Months

Your child should be able to identify certain body parts, like the ears, when asked about them. They should also have at least six to ten words in their vocabulary. They should be able to clearly communicate to you their needs and you should have no problem understanding what they want. They should slowly increase their vocabulary by one new work per week till they reach around 24 months.

24 – 25 Months

24 months marks a major milestone and your child should be communicating effectively. They should be able to respond to direction that you give them and engage in play. They should be able to speak to dolls and stuffed animals and have a “conversation” based on their abilities. They should be able to easily join two words together to make sentences and accurately identify household items commonly used, like their toothbrush. They should be able to quickly identify and say the names of more of their body parts, like eyes, nose and mouth. They should also be able to quote a few nursery rhymes with the help of an adult. They should be able to communicate simple questions regarding their needs and wants. Sentence structure should change from little two or three word sentences to full sentences.

Above 30 Months

When a child reaches the 30-month mark, they should be able to clearly be understood by the entire family. They should be able to use pronouns like I, you and me. Some strangers may have a hard time understanding the child, but to those who are around them all the time it should be no problem. They should be able to speak in short and clear phrases and to understand short instructions they are given. They should interact in conversation and play with other children and their speech should be clear. Any stuttering that would have been present should be gone by the age of 3. By the time the child reaches 4 years of age, they should have all their consonants mastered.

While these are just basic guidelines, anything that seems out of the ordinary to you should be investigated by a doctor. Again, all children don’t develop the same, but they should at least hit some of the verbal milestones on time in each age category.