Language Acquisition Milestones Every New Parent Should Know

Language acquisition milestones are essential for understanding your child’s development. However, not every child meets these milestones at the recommended time Developmental delays have increased. Developmental delays have increased in recent years as more people stay indoors. Organizations like HealthySteps, a national early childhood development program, have thus been working tirelessly to address these gaps.

HealthySteps specialists, often social workers, help by referring children to counselors and accompanying them to their pediatric visits. This growing work area has led to a projected 14% increase in demand for social workers who work with children, families, and schools. More universities are opening up their social work courses social work courses to a broader pool of students to meet this demand. Those who take an online social work degree are taught the nine CSWE competencies to ensure that they demonstrate ethical and professional behavior while working with families. Because social workers are equipped with practice-informed research, parents can rest assured that their children are in good hands.

Social workers and counselors can help families engage in research-informed practice as well. Understanding standard language acquisition and knowing when to seek help for your child can play a big part in proper parenting. Unsure where to start? Here’s a quick guide on what to look for and what you can do.

Understanding communication

Newborns can naturally come to recognize that the act of crying will bring food, comfort, and companionship. During this period, you must acclimate your baby to the sound of your voice.

Children can sort out differences among the speech sounds they hear as they grow. Your baby may start to acknowledge the sound of their name as early as five to seven months old. Within a month or two, they may look for “mommy” or “daddy” when they hear those words.

Babies rely heavily on visual stimulation as well. Dr Ed Tronick’s Still Face experiment from 1970 showed us that two to six-month-old babies can still recognize non-verbal cues of communication like facial expressions. Keeping this in mind will hopefully discourage distracted parenting — or overuse of screens and gadgets in the company of children — and teach parents to pay closer attention to their young children.


Attempting communication

At four to eight months old, babies may start deliberately producing sounds. This significant milestone is called babbling.

During this stage, parents must avoid engaging in traditional “baby talk” or “parentese.” That’s because babies are supposed to mimic their parents’ speech patterns. Patricia Kuhl from the University of Washington explains how parentese, or using a higher pitch to sound excited, can also cause babies to engage more slowly in social interactions. Parents, therefore, must use a speaking style that emphasizes proper grammar and pronunciation.

Guided properly, babies can begin to use gestures and sounds to communicate their thoughts at eight to twelve months. They can point and show things to you and can also make a variety of sounds.



By eighteen to twenty-four months, children are capable of using 50 different words, like “juice” or “why.” Major milestones at this age include the ability to vocally pair two words into coherent phrases and understand simple commands like, “Eat your food.”

Most children can string along 3-4 word phrases to compose mostly complete sentences by three years of age. To help develop this, parents can provide a variety of age-appropriate resources like nursery rhymes or storybooks. Storybooks are especially great at introducing children to basic reading and writing and are a great parent-child bonding activity.


Refining communication

The next several years of childhood should be focused on improving their vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Once again, don’t fret if your child seems delayed or even more advanced compared to others in their age group. The milestones listed above should only be a guide that can shape how you continue to nurture your child’s development.

If you’re concerned that your child’s language acquisition development is delayed, you can contact development programs like HealthySteps to have a social worker assist you in monitoring your child’s progress. You can also opt to enlist the services of a speech-language therapist who can determine the cause of the delay.

Oral structure, dental problems, or neurological peculiarities could cause this delay. Working with professionals ensures that your child receives the proper assistance and can be guided to communicate effectively at an older age.

In the meantime, parents can continue learning about language acquisition and other developmental milestones. New parents can also enrich their parenthood journey with new knowledge from our tips for new moms, including how babies pee and how newborns sleep.

Are you excited for your little one to arrive? If you’re expecting, add to the anticipation with our Personalized Gender Prediction, and you can start preparing more thoroughly for your child’s needs today.


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