What Are Language Development Milestones During Childhood?

Childhood language development milestones are a vital concept for speech and hearing professionals. Children’s brains develop at an accelerated pace during the first three years of their lives. That means charting major accomplishments during this time provides especially valuable context.

Check out our infographic below, walking through the first five years of childhood language development:

Infographic explaining the first five years of childhood language development.

Major language development milestones for newborns and infants


As noted, newborn babies quickly start to pick up on verbal cues from their parents and others. Recognizing voices and responding to them is an important step at this stage. Newborns also learn how to express basic emotion through sound. Simple words can soon follow.

Infants build on the basic knowledge they developed as newborns. They move on to using more words and understanding simple instructions. They also start to recognize sounds beyond speech, like music.

Continued development for toddlers and preschoolers


Toddlers begin to remember more words and enjoy a period of vocabulary growth. Short conversations and following instructions are major language development milestones here.

Preschoolers keep building their language skills with an ability to pronounce most sounds. They now understand basic allusion and figures of speech. They also learn how to better express abstract concepts. These developments set the stage for preschoolers to build a mastery of the more complex parts of language as time goes on.

Are you interested in fueling childhood language development?


Helping children reach early language development milestones is especially rewarding. Speech and hearing professionals play a vital role in this effort.

The ASU Online Bachelor of Science in speech and hearing science program can prepare graduates to support early language development. The MS in speech and hearing can lead to a variety of roles in health, education or rehabilitation fields. Learners can also earn the credits needed to pursue higher-level degrees in this field.

< Previous article Next article >

Request Information

To learn more about ASU Online or a specific program, fill out the form below and check your email for information on next steps.