Go to Minnesota Childrens Museum website Watch us on YouTubeBe a Fan on FacebookShare photos with us on FlickrKeep up with us on Twitter
Minnesota Childrens Museum Blog

Do you sometimes wonder whether your child is "on track" in his or her ability to understand and use language?  Here are some questions you might want to consider about your child's behavior, followed by a description of what the behavior might look like.

At 3-6 months
What does your child do when you talk to him or her?
Your child awakens or quiets to the sound of their mother's voice.

Does your child react to your voice even when he or she cannot see you?
Your child turns their eyes and head in the direction of the source of the sound.

At 7-10 months
Your child can't see what is making a sound, what does she or he do?
Your child turns their head and shoulders toward the familiar sounds, even when they cannot see what is happening.  The sounds do not have to be loud to cause the child to respond to the dog barking, the ringing of the telephone, footsteps, or someone's voice.

At 11-15 months
Can your child point to or find familiar objects or people as requested?
Your child shows understanding of some words by appropriate behavior such as pointing or looking at familiar objects or people on request.

Does you child respond differently to different sounds?
You child jabbers in response to a human voice, is apt to cry when there is a loud noise such as thunder, or may frown when scolded.

Does you child enjoy listening to sounds and imitating them?
Imitation indicates that your child can hear the sounds and match them with his or her own sounds production. 

At 18 months
Can your child point to parts of his or her body when asked?
Some children begin to identify parts of their own bodies.  Your child should be able to show his or her nose or eyes.

How many understandable words does your child use - words that you are sure really mean something?
Your child should be using a few single words.  They are not complete or pronounced perfectly, but are clearly meaningful.

At 2 years
Can your child follow simple verbal commands when you are careful not to provide and help (such as looking at the object or pointing in the right direction)?
Your child should be able to follow a few simple commands without visual cues.

Does your child enjoy being read to?  Doe she or he point out pictures of familiar objects?
Most two-year-olds enjoy being read to and shown simple pictures in a book or magazine.  They are usually able to point out pictures when you ask them to.

Is your child putting a few words together to make "sentences" as in "Milk all gone," or "Go bye-bye car?"
These "sentences" are not usually complete or grammatical but carry the message.

Esther Schak,
Parent Educator, Saint Paul ECFE

NOTE: The ages and stages described above are general developmental stages that a majority of children reach at the stated ages. However, it is very important to understand that every child is different!  Please don't panic if every milestone is not reached right on time for your child. Some children meet the milestones ahead of time. Some children just take longer -- for lots of reasons -- and not all developmentally-related.
Some toddlers don't talk by a certain age because they have an older sibling who does all the talking for them! Some little ones would rather go straight to walking from sitting and skip crawling altogether--walking leads to running and they're just in a hurry! Saying a child "should" be able to do something by a certain age can cause great worry for parents if their child has not achieved that particular milestone at that particular age.  Yes, it's extremely important to catch physical, cognitive or social/emotional developmental delays and get the child help as early as possible, but it's also important to remember that each child will develop at his or her own pace. If you are worried about your child's developmental progress, please consult your pediatrician.

Judy Schumacher,
Director of Education and Community Partnerships, Minnesota Children's Museum


Post a Comment