Your Toddlers Speech Development, What’s Normal and What Should You Expect?

Baby and Toddlers
Your Toddlers Speech Development

Your Toddlers Speech Development, What’s Normal and What Should You Expect?

When you have a baby it can be an overwhelming time. Added to the lack of sleep is the worry and responsibility of caring for this cute-as-a-button tiny little human.

But as the sleepless nights start to recede and your baby grows, there are more and more things to worry about: Are they eating enough? Are they developing normally? When will they start talking?

Comparing your kids to others is a one-way ticket to crazy town as every child is so different, but I know that a HUGE worry for mums is to know what’s normal and what’s not, especially when it comes to an essential skill like speech and language development.

Luckily we have recently discovered Lauren Crumlish, the founder and speech therapist at Speech Clinic, an in-home speech pathology clinic that treats children 16 months to 18 years in the Greater Brisbane, Bayside, Redland City, Logan and Northern Gold Coast area.

As well as running Speech Clinic, Lauren has developed an animated information series for parents, early years educators and health professionals that tackles commonly asked questions parents have regarding their child’s speech and language development.

So what is normal? We utilised Lauren’s online resources to find out…

Early Speech and Language Development 0 – 12 Months

Having had four kids, one thing I have learnt is that while every child is different, early language and development starts wayyyy earlier than you would expect.

At birth, babies start communicating with screams and cries, but those gorgeous little coos and grunts your baby is making from around 4 weeks are also an early form of communication.

Coco (6 weeks) has just started to ‘talk’ to us this last week and it is just gorgeous, but when I was a first-time Mum I was not aware that this was a baby’s way of communicating until one of my speech pathologist friends mentioned it to me.

HOT TIP: When your baby is ‘talking’ to you – talk back imitating the sounds they are making. They will feel like their parents really get them and can speak their language.

In her article ‘Speech and Language Milestones’ Lauren writes that in the first 12 months you should expect to see (and hear):

    • 0-3 months: Your baby will smile and will show different types of cries. He or she will also be exploring sounds and will play with cooing.
    • 4-6 months: Your baby will demonstrate lots of vocal play and will truly enter the babbling stage.
    • 6-months: Your baby’s babbling will keep developing, and you will hear new sounds in amongst their early outbursts
    • 8-12 months: Babbling will continue to occur, and more purposeful non-verbal communication will emerge. Your baby’s first words will likely come around their first birthday. The words may be slightly unclear or simplified, however, they should be used with purpose – e.g., “Mama!”

In the first episode of her animated series, Lauren also addresses just this question – you can watch it below for full details.

The Next Stage – Speech and Language Development 13 – 24 months

This is really the age where differences in children’s speech development become more apparent, and where comparison can be the thief of joy.

My two year old has a large vocabulary and is putting 4 – 5 word sentences together, but he is at the higher end of what would be considered normal. I have friends whose children have a smaller vocabulary and are just putting some simple words together, and both of them are normal. But if you didn’t know what is normal or what isn’t you could start to worry about your child’s development.

The thing to remember is that there is a broad spectrum of normal within children’s speech and language development, but if you know what to look out for, or milestones that should be reached, you can investigate further.

As with most things with young children, early intervention can make a huge difference to long term outcomes so the earlier you can pick it up the better.

HOT TIP: Continue to talk to your children as you do everyday activities ‘Let’s go change your nappy’ ‘Can you see the ball, what colour is it? Lets play’ as some basic examples. Even if they can’t speak much yet, they should be able to understand more and more as they get closer to two.

Lauren advises that during this stage you should expect your child to be:

  • 1-2 years: As your baby’s number of words continues to grow, their rate of babbling will decrease. 2-word combinations and questions may be forming (e.g., where’s daddy?)

Children’s understanding also grows rapidly as they near their second birthday. When children are 18 months old they can follow simple one-step instructions (“throw the ball!”). When they are two, toddlers can follow two-step instructions (“Get me the ball and the car”) and identify some body parts.

Episode 3 of the animated series covers this topic and you can watch it in full here:

What Should You Do If You Are Worried?

If you are worried that something isn’t quite right then reach out. Once again early intervention can make all the difference and Lauren has an episode that covers this too – you can find them all here.

If you would like to find out more, book an in-home consultation OR utilise the amazing resources on the website.


Katie -


Katie is the Managing Director and Editor of Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking copious amounts of coffee, cuddling her kids and trying not to step barefoot on lego. Katie lives in Beautiful Brisbane with her husband and four gorgeous children.

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