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Language milestones in the first 3 years

As you help your little one develop his cognitive abilities to prepare for his homeschool program (and life in general), it's important to be on the lookout for language milestones to make sure his development is on track. This is especially true in the first three years of your son's life, as this is a critical time for the attainment of proper speech and language skills. Of course, not all children will mature at the exact same pace, but by the time your son reaches his third birthday, he should be able to do the following:

Age 0-1

  • Say a few short words, such as "mama," "dada" and "dog"
  • Respond when you say "no"
  • Listen when you speak to him and react to simple requests
  • Make a succession of sounds with clear inflection and intonation
  • Babble and attempt to imitate your words
  • Make sounds that begin with "m," "p" and "b"

Age 1-2

  • Point to objects, body parts and photos of himself when they are named
  • Constructs short phrases and sentences (consisting of two to four words), such as "all gone"
  • Follow simple instructions, such as "Roll the ball"
  • Answer simple questions, such as "Where is your hat?"
  • Repeat words he overhears
  • Regularly learn new words
  • Say words that begin with consonant sounds other than "m," "b" and "p"

Age 2-3

  • Articulate the "n," "k," "d," "g," "t" and "f" sounds
  • Use short phrases to ask for things
  • Ask short questions, such as "Where doggy?"
  • Know the words to identify most objects and people in his daily life
  • String together phrases that can be understood by adults and other children

Remember that as a parent, the best thing you can do to help your child's language skills develop is to expose him to words on a consistent basis. After all, it is when your child is young that he is most easily able to absorb this information. So don't hold back! Engage your little one in conversation, even if you're not sure he understands what you're saying. Eventually, he will.

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