Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center
Typical Developmental Milestones
3 months
  • coos
  • uses mostly vowel sounds
  • responds vocally to speech of others
  • turns head when hears a voice
6 months
  • varies volume, pitch, rate
  • babbles strings of consonants
          -Examples - bababa, mamama, dadada
  • imitates some sounds
9 months
  • continued babbling, may begin babbling with a variety of sounds in sentence-like patterns
  • understands some words like milk, bye-bye, daddy mommy
  • responds to his/her own name
12 months
  • 1st words emerge
  • uses jargon - combination of sounds that resemble words
  • follows simple commands
  • points to simple objects or pictures in a book
15 months
  • has 4-6 word vocabulary
  • uses words and jargon in conversation
  • points to clothes, people, toys, and animals named
18 months
  • has approximately a 20 word vocabulary
  • begins using some 2-word utterances
  • identifies some body parts
  • "sings" and hums spontaneously
  • begins tuning pages in books
24 months
  • has 200-300 word vocabulary
  • uses short, incomplete sentences
  • likes rhyming games and books
  • uses some prepositions (in, on) and pronouns (I, me, you, mine) but not always correctly
  • uses some regular verb endings (-s, -ed, -ing) and plural "s"
  • carries on "conversations" with self, toys, and others
30 months
  • has approximately a 450 word vocabulary
  • uses short sentences
  • tries to get attention using words like "watch me"
  • uses past tense and plurals, combines nouns and verbs
  • answers "where" questions
  • talks to other children as well as adults
36 months (3 years)
  • has 900-1000 word vocabulary
  • uses 3-4 word sentences
  • follows 2-step commands
  • talks about the present
  • understands time words such as yesterday, tomorrow, last night, summer
  • understands more prepositions
  • knows several nursery rhymes/songs
  • may repeat sounds, words, or phrases, which is normal for this age
4 years
  • has 1,500-1,600 vocabulary
  • asks many questions
  • identifies some colors and shapes consistently
  • uses more complex sentence forms
  • recounts stories and the recent past
  • understands most questions about the immediate environment
  • has some difficulty answering "how" and "why" questions
  • uses past tense correctly
There is a wide variability in typical language development during the first 24 months.  For example, first words can be heard as early as 9 months or as late as 15 months and still follow typical development.  However, the range of variability in typical development dramatically decreases after 24 months and children should more closely follow the typical developmental milestones.