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Language milestones: Speaking in sentences

little boy and dad's profile against the setting sun

Your little one’s first words were probably extremely exciting. Even more so, listening to their first attempts to put them together and form a sentence. This is a huge milestone in their language development. From two to six-word sentences, find out what’s coming up for your child’s linguistic development and when to expect it.

Between 18 and 24 months, most children begin putting two words together to form a phrase. For example, you might have listened to your little one say “Mommy go” or “My ball”. Whatever phrase they put together, they probably loved repeating it over and over –attempting to get their message across very clearly. But since their pronunciation still had a long way to go, about half of what they said was hard to understand.


Now, you can expect your two-year-old to add a variety of words to their vocabulary and use them in sentences too. Those sentences may now come in the form of questions like “Go play?”. The preschool years come with huge leaps in language development. By the time they turn four, most children can string sentences made up of three to six words. These are now simple, but complete sentences. Their speech is much clearer, making it easier for even strangers to understand most of what they say.

Want to help your little one learn to speak in longer sentences? Try the following tips:

  • First, begin by cutting out the baby talk. Instead, speak clearly, using simple but real words so that your child can imitate you.
  • Give them lots of opportunities to speak up. Include them in your conversations and ask them open-ended questions about their day, their likes, dislikes, etc.
  • Actually listen to what they have to say and then respond accordingly. Be patient, don’t interrupt them or finish their sentences.
  • Add on to whatever they say. For example, if they say “Go play!”, you can respond and say “Yes, let’s go play! Do you want to go outside?”. Respond to their words with more words.

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