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Take the Quiz!

Yes, babies’ brains are truly incredible. At birth they actually contain more neurons than they need, and a “pruning” process takes place within the first two years. Because of baby’s experiences during this time, including the language she hears, the neurons needed to remember and use these bits of information are retained, and other neurons become dormant. Your baby’s experiences will actually shape her brain, and you can provide just the right experiences for your baby to thrive cognitively, linguistically, physically and emotionally. So it’s crucial that you give your baby the right experiences and watch her development through those early years.

But how much do you really know about your baby’s language development? Is your baby right within the typical range for babbling? Pointing? Using single words? Using short phrases? Speaking in sentences? Is your child more advanced? Does your toddler need a little extra support?

baby Photo courtesy of Colin Maynard, Unsplash

Interested? Take this quiz! Hope you do well!

At what age should your baby –

  1. Attend to short stories?
    Answer: 6 months to a year: Even before your baby begins to speak, her brain is making sense of connected speech she hears. She is learning which words are important, and one way to do this is to focus on words that are emphasized. A great way to emphasize these words is to read stories to your baby. Yes, she’s really listening!
  2. Use 2-word utterances consistently like "more juice," "daddy come," "no bed"
    Answer: 1 year to 18 months: Your child is just beginning to put words together into short sentences. You’ll hear the same words over and over (like “more,” and “no”) combined with new words every day.
  3. Tells some personal information, like his name and age
    Answer: 2 to 3 years: Your child is beginning to know who he is, and he enjoys talking about himself. Soon he will be able to answer more and more of such personal questions.
  4. Copies and draws some easy alphabet letters (like O, C and V)
    Answer: 3 to 4 years: She is beginning to understand that letters are important, and that this is a way to represent words she hears – like her name.
  5. Tries to imitate speech sounds she hears
    Answer: 3 to 6 months: Your baby has been practicing making sounds since birth, but now he is focusing on the sounds of his own language.
  6. Understands "yesterday," "today" and "tomorrow"
    Answer: 4 to 5 years: Your child has been able to talk about current, past and future events, but now understands the words that mark different times. She could talk about “when we went to Aunt Mary’s,” but can now answer, “Where did we go yesterday?”
  7. Understands 2-step directions like "Get your book, then sit on the couch."
    Answer: 2 to 3 years: These directions require understanding and remembering pretty complex sentences, so now your child is becoming much more comfortable understanding the meaning of longer strings of words.
  8. Learns to attend to your gaze, touch and tone of voice (as basis for conversation)
    Answer: Birth to 3 months: Your baby doesn’t understand your language yet, but the connection, the give-and-take between you and him, and the need for bonding is there right from the beginning. This is a beautiful time of discovery for both of you.
  9. Understands and uses some color and shape words
    Answer: 3 to 4 years: So far your child has used words for people, places, things and actions, but now she is beginning to discover details of things and to categorize them. She notices that many things are red, and that there are many round objects in her environment.
  10. Says numbers 1 – 10, recognizes and names most when pointed to
    Answer: 4 to 5 years: Once he has memorized the numbers 1 – 5, he begins to understand the meaning of counting. He now sees the importance of knowing his numbers and is proud that he recognizes them.
  11. Understands about 100 words (receptive vocabulary)
    Answer: 1 year to 18 months: Your baby is just beginning to talk, but she’s been listening since birth. You know that she responds to simple phrases and directions like “Look at the _____” and “Do you want some _____? Yes, she understands all those words, and she’ll soon be using them.
  12. Starts using the suffix -ing ("Doggie running")
    Answer: 2 to 3 years: Your child is now beginning to use suffixes. He probably overgeneralizes the past tense morpheme –ed (drinkded, comed, doed), but his brain now knows that parts of words are added to change meaning.
  13. Cries differently for different reasons (happy, upset, bored, hungry, dirty diaper, in pain, etc.)
    Answer: Birth to 3 months: Did you think little babies just “cry” when they need something? Listen closely and watch how your little one cries. You’ll be amazed that even at this age she is communicating what she needs.
  14. Speaks very clearly (but might have some common articulation errors)
    Answer: 4 to 5 years: By the time your child enters kindergarten, he should be very easy to understand. A 4-year-old’s speech should be 100% intelligible. He might still substitute some sounds, but they should not make it difficult to understand him.
  15. Uses contractions (can’t, don’t, isn’t, etc.)
    Answer: 3 to 4 years: Of course, your child doesn’t know these are ways of combining words (can + not), but it is a much more linguistically advanced way of saying “no” (I no want).
  16. Asks the meaning of unfamiliar words
    Answer: 2 to 3 years: She is now tuning in to meaning and knows when she doesn’t understand. Previously there were so many words and phrases that were confusing to her, but now that she understands so much more language, she is beginning to notice when she doesn’t. This is a big step in vocabulary development.
  17. Fills in the next predictable word in story when adult pauses
    Answer: 18 months to 2 years: Children love to hear the same story over and over. That’s because it is comforting to understand the story and to know what’s coming next. Do this with your little one. Stop, then let him tell you what the next word will be (words that hold content – not words like “of” or “the”). You’ll think he’s memorized the whole story!
  18. Uses about 2000 different words (expressive vocabulary)
    Answer: 3 to 4 years: Receptive vocabulary (words that are understood) is always larger than expressive vocabulary. Even adults know the meanings of many words we never use. But once you can actually have conversations with your child, you will notice a huge leap in the number of words she actually uses.
  19. Asks questions about a story being read
    Answer: 2 to 3 years: At this age, not only can he predict the next word, but he is really thinking about meaning. Why the elephant do that? Where he going? He also loves to ask questions at this age.
  20. Uses some 6-word sentences
    Answer: 3 to 4 years: By 3 years, she was using sentences of 3 to 4 words, but just within one more year her sentences have gotten much more complex. This is a real growth period for sentence formation (syntax). Now she can have real conversations about anything that interests her. She’s on her way to really knowing her family’s language!