What should my child's language look like by 3 years old?

By 3 years old, your child's language is becoming much more complex and their favorite word is likely NO! The following skills should have emerged by this point:

Receptive language milestones:

  • answering yes and no questions correctly 
  • responding verbally to wh- questions (e.g. what's this? where is mommy?)
  • showing interest in how and why things work
  • identifying the parts of something (e.g. front, back, top, bottom)

Expressive language milestones:

  • using verb forms (e.g. eating, sleeping)
  • expressing physical states (e.g. I'm tired, I'm hungry)
  • counting to 3
  • conversing in sentences

    *When researching developmental milestones for your child's language development, it's important to keep in mind that ages of expected development are for children who are typically developing. Many children with speech or language delay or disabilities show atypical development and don't always follow the same sequence. Visual, hearing, and/or motor impairments all play a role in language development.