3 year old speech checklist
Toddler Toddler Development

3 Year Old Speech Checklist | 2 Year Old Speech Checklist

Finding out the 3 year old speech checklist is important. You need to know if your child is meeting or exceeding in their speech development. This will ensure that your toddler is on track and if they are not you can step up your speech development work.

Always remember that there is a wide range of what normal is and if your child is slightly behind in one area it isn’t much cause for concern.

Many toddlers develop at different stages and if in doubt seek out a speech-language pathologist 

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3 Year Old Speech Checklist

Remember this is a national average and may not apply exclusively to every child. Don’t worry if it can seem a bit overwhelming, just try and read between the lines and compare on a broad spectrum.

3 Year Old Vocabulary Word List

Social words

  • please, thank you, hello, bye, sorry, yes, no, okay

Action Words

push, stop, • walk,  cry, see, sit, drink, love, fall, hurt, all go, look, all slide, throw, eat, open, play, broke, swing, night, day pull, climb, gone, fix, kiss, dance, done, wash, watch, help, hug, jump, catch, close, run, blow,

Location Words

  • up, down, off, on, in, out,

Descriptive Words

quiet, silly, clean, cold, wet, slow, icky, little, scary, fast, yucky, loud, gentle, soft, dirty, funny, big, hot, colours – red, yellow, brown, orange, purple, black, white, green, pink, blue,

Pronouns

Me, my, I, you, mine

Nouns

yellow, flower, green, shirt, choo–choo, pants, spoon, tree, plane, blanket, light, bed, (red, hat, car, cream, diaper, rain, cookie, book, train, chair, black, chip, shoe, bubbles, white, pink, baby, purple, brush, star, banana, apple, cheese, brown)ball, bath, truck, sock, cereal blue, boat, orange, bowl, table, house, towel, ice bike, cracker,

3 Year Old Speech Checklist: Sound Development

At 3 years old, your toddler:

  • Should be correctly using all the vowels (a,e,I,o,u) and some constants p,m,h,n,w
  • Should not be deleting syllables from multi-syllabic words. For example constantly saying the word “brella”, instead of “umbrella
  • Should not be removing the sounds from the end of some words. For example “pi” for “pig”

In addition, you’re your toddler should be understood by an adult that is not related to them around 75% of the time.

So to put that in context, 3 out of every 4 words should be clear and understandable to a stranger.

3 Year Old Speech Checklist: Grammar Development

At 3 years old, your toddler:

  • Should be using pronouns. For example “1,me,mine,you,yours,he,we”
  • Should be using pronouns at the end of words. For example, uses “ing” at the end of some verbs. Like “skipping”, “playing”
  • Should be using grammatical markers. For example plural. “s” ‘Shoe(s)”
  • Should be using words in the past tense. For example “ed” – “hoped”
  • Should be producing sentences with an average of 3 words in length

3 Year Old Speech Checklist: Social Development

At 3 years old, your toddler:

  • Should be able to watch other children play and join in
  • Ask for permission for possessions and activities
  • Start to pretend play,
  • Defends their own belongings and possessions
  • Can tell age by holding up their fingers
  • Can indicate that a toy is missing and go in search for it.
  • Can copy adults and older people
  • Shows affection for people without being prompted to
  • Is concern when someone they know is crying
  • Shows a variety of emotion, including joy, frustration and excitement.
  • Doesn’t get mum and dad mixed up
  • Can take off and put back on basic clothing

3 Year Old Speech Checklist: Language And Communication

At 3 years old, your toddler can:

  • Follow basic instructions. For example, please pass the cream
  • Say their first name, gender and how old they are.
  • Recognises and name a friend
  • Can talk with at least 2 to 3 sentences

3 Year Old Speech Checklist: Literacy Development

At 3 years old, your toddler:

  • Listen and engage in books for longer periods
  • Can hold a book correctly, the right way up
  • Can recognise logo’s, like cinema, playhouse or walmart
  • Showing phonological and pre-reading awareness

3 Year Old Speech Checklist: Concept Development

At 3 years old, your toddler:

  • Understands the difference between “in” and “under”
  • Can point to when asked 2 different concepts
  • Comprehends the difference in size between objects. “small” and “big”
  • Comprehends, “off”, “on”, “under”, “over” “together” “apart”
  • Starting to understand the concept of “soon”, “wait” “later”
  • Can select three objects that are the same out of a selection of 4
  • Can start to say adjectives for size and colour

3 Year Old Speech Checklist: Cognitive Development

At 3 years old, your toddler:

  • Can play with toys that have moving parts
  • Can play with dolls and animals in make-belief
  • Can put together puzzles with 3 or more pieces
  • Copies a circle with a crayon
  • Turns a book with individual pages
  • Can build towers with 6 blocks or more
  • Can open and close basic jars and containers

3 Year Old Speech Checklist: Asking & Listening Development

At 3 years old, your toddler:

  • Be able to ask simple questions that they want. I.e where is a cookie?
  • Be able to ask, “where”, “what”, “when”
  • Can respond to body part questions, for example, show me your eyes?

How Many Words Does A 3 Year Old Know

Many parents ask How Many Words Does A 3-year-old Know?

Usually a normal 3 years old should be able to say around 250 – 500 words.

Although this may sound like a lot, many of these words are basic. For example, I, me, the, in, out, up, down, mum, dad, their name etc

3 Year Old Development Problems

If your 3 year old is showing any signs of these below contact a doctor:

  • Has trouble going up and down stairs frequently falling
  • Has very unclear speech
  • Is unable to work simple plug play toys
  • Can’t speak in sentences
  • Can’t understand simple instructions
  • Doesn’t play make-belief
  • Don’t use eye contact at all
  • Do not hear you when you call their name in the same room
  • Excessive stuttering

2 Year Old Speech Checklist

Learning a 2 year old speech checklist is important to ensure your child is developmentally moving in the right direction. Below we’ll examine the correct 2 year old speech checklist and other important 2 year old milestones.

Remember every 2 year old is different and unique. They will develop at their own pace and there is no rush. Use this guide below as a reference point and compare your toddler broadly across the spectrum of reference points.

If in doubt always contact a speech-language pathologist as they are skilled in looking deeply into each child and finding the exact reasons for over or under development.

2 Year Old Speech Checklist: Speech Sound Development

At 2 years old a stranger should be able to understand what your child is saying around 50% of the time. Your toddler should be using a variety of vowels and constants but if they aren’t able to say them all it isn’t cause for concern.

2 Year Old Speech Checklist: Sentence Development

At  2 years old your toddler should be:

  • Complete sentences that are around words long. For example “Milk please”, “Share toys”, “Come down” sometimes this can be 1 word and sometimes 3.
  • Have the ability to say Why, What, Where, When, but not at the same time. For example, “What’s that?

2 Year Old Speech Checklist: Social / Language Development

At  2 years old your toddler can:

  • Wave good bye
  • Show you their pants are wet
  • Mimic and repeat what you say
  • Play with other children
  • Call themselves by their name
  • Declare that they don’t want something using the word “No”
  • Make Pretend play with a piece of pretend food or on the telephone
  • Use social words like, ”thanks”, “please”, “Hi”, “bye”

2 Year Old Speech Checklist: Literacy Development

At  2 years old your toddler can:

  • Turn a page by themselves
  • Show you what pictures or images you call out
  • Pretend to read

2 Year Old Speech Checklist: Concept Development

At  2 years old your toddler can:

  • Follow directions about something, “In, on” – “Put it back in the draw, put it back on the draw”
  • Understand simple terms about direction like, “Up and down”

2 Year Old Speech Checklist: Red Flags

If your toddler is showing any of these signs then you will need to contact a speech/language pathologist

  • Has less than 50 words in their vocabulary
  • Doesn’t interact socially very well with other people or children.
  • Doesn’t copy actions or words you say
  • Won’t follow simple instructions
  • Doesn’t walk steadily over short periods

How Many Words Should A 2 Year Old Have?

Many parents ask “How Many Words Should A 2 Year Old Have?”

A 2 year old should know about 200 – 300 words. This can range from smaller words to bigger words but this is the average for a  year old.

By 2 years old your child should be able to say his first name and recite simple words they see or hear all the time.

Learning how many words should a 2 year old know isn’t too difficult. Here is a quick word checklist

  • Eye, you, Shoe, Baby, No, Ball, Car, Daddy, Milk, Yes, Thank, Cookie, Banana, More, Hot, Gone, All, Book, Dog, Nose, Cat, Juice, Hello, Bath, Bye-bye, Mommy, Hat

Learning how many words should a 2 year old have is very child-specific and each child will develop their own favourite choice words.

Remember it’s never a race each toddler grows and learns at their own pace. You can find that some 2 year olds don’t know that many words, but then over a short span of a few weeks or a month Explode into speech.

This is because each toddler hits developmental milestones at different times and sometimes you won’t see much change in them for a short period while they are absorbing everything in.

Here are some basic guidelines on toddler speech development

How Many Words Should A One Year Old Say?

Most babies speak their first words after 9 months and then continue to grow and learn from 1 year onwards. Parents that ask how many words should a one year old say, usually think there baby isn’t’ saying enough, but rest assure most 1 year olds are doing well developmentally.

How many words should a one year old say? Usually between 1 – 3 words.

They will be simple words like “Ma-ma, da-da” or a special toy or pet name.

The word count shouldn’t be your primary concern at 1 years old. It’s better to focus on how many new sounds and speech formations they are saying.

This will ultimately result in more words as they get a little bit older.

Just as important should be their cognitive development and the respond to you. Here are some important 1 year old milestones:

How Many Words Should A One Year Old Say: Other Factors

After 12 months + your baby:

  • Should be able to say 1 – 3 words by
  • Can use gestures to get a point across to you
  • Will be able to point to their specific parts of the body
  • Can listen and follow intently along to nursery rhymes or singing
  • Will follow simple directions

Other common questions parents ask:

  • how many words should a 13 month old say?
  • how many words should my 14 month old say?
  • how many words should a 14 month old say?
  • how many words should my 15 month old say?
  • how many words should a 17 month old say?
  • how many words should a 20 month old say?
  • how many words should a 21 month old say?
  • how many words should a 24 month old say?

Here is an age to word ratio calendar to get a rough idea of how many words should a toddler be saying at different ages.

Age  Approximate Words For Expressive Vocabulary

You can check your child against this age approximate word calculator below and see how they stake up! Remember this is not an extensive list but just a reference point for comparison.

12 mos  ~  2-6 words
15 mos  ~  10
18 mos  ~  50
24 mos  ~  200-300
30 mos  ~  450
3 years  ~  1,000
4 years  ~  1,600
5 years  ~  2,200-2,500
6 years  ~  2,600-7,000
12 years ~ 50,000 (Wow!

Ava Miller

Mom of 2 who enjoys blogging, travelling, cooking and spending time with Taylor & Olivia

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