Milestones checklist

Speech and language skills develop over time. Every child will develop at their own rate. This checklist outlines the ages at which most children will reach speech, language and hearing milestones. This checklist and these milestones also apply to children and families where more than one language is spoken (bilingual or multilingual). When a child does not develop one of the skills at the expected age, it does not always mean that there is a problem. But, if you answer “no” to most of the items at or below your child’s age, you should contact your local speech-language pathologist and/or audiologist. 


Birth to 3 months

Does your child:

  • Soothe/calm to your voice
  • Sometimes startle when there is a loud sound
  • Make cooing sounds
  • Have different cries for different needs
  • Smile at you


4 to 6 months

Does your child:

  • Babble and make different sounds
  • Make sounds back when you talk
  • Turn their eyes towards voices and interesting sounds
  • Enjoy toys that make sound or music
  • Enjoy people games like peek-a-boo


7 to 12 months

Does your child:

  • Respond to their name
  • Let you know what they want using sounds or actions like pointing
  • Begin to follow simple directions, like "where is your nose?"
  • Pay attention when spoken to
  • Wave hi/bye


12 to 18 months

Does your child:

  • Use familiar words
  • Enjoy looking at books with you
  • Point to body parts or pictures in a book when asked
  • Look at your face when talking about you
  • Smile and laugh while playing with you


18 to 24 months

Does your child:

  • Understand more words than they can say
  • Begins to use two words together (e.g. more juice)
  • Ask simple questions (e.g. What's that?)
  • Takes back-and-forth turns


2 to 3 years

Does your child:

  • Use sentences of three or more words most of the time
  • Understand different concepts, like "in-on" or "up-down"
  • Follow two-step directions (e.g. take the book and put it on the table)
  • Answer simple questions, like "where is the car?"
  • Participate in short conversations


3 to 4 years

Does your child:

  • Tell a short story or talk about their day
  • Talk in sentences with a few grammar errors
  • Speak clearly so people understand them most of the time
  • Hear you when you call from another room
  • Listen to TV at the same volume as others
  • Asks and answers many questions


4 to 5 years

Does your child:

  • Participate in conversation even when there is background noise
  • Use rhyming words, and names some letters and numbers
  • Communicate easily with other children and adults
  • Listen to and retell a story
  • Ask and answer questions about a story


Adapted from Speech-Language & Audiology Canada, 2014, Speech, Language and Hearing Milestones,