Talking Stages (Expressive Language) 

 

What to expect and when?

Advice

Before words (Pre-verbal)

Babies communicate before they can speak, by crying, making sounds and using facial expressions such as eye contact and smiling. They play with sounds (babble) which might sound like "ba ba ba" and "mumumum". They will start to use gestures, e.g. waving or pointing.

For more information, see:

Using Gestures and Signs

Listen Think Talk

Coventry talk now -  Stage 1 CommunicationDiscovery


  • Talk to your baby about the things that are going on around them. Don’t ask questions

  • Leave gaps in your talking so they can respond – with sound or smiles, or a look

  • copy your baby’s sounds such as "ma," "da," and "ba"

  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your baby in a ‘singsong’ voice

  • Use proper words rather than baby words e.g. "cow" instead of "moo moo"

  • Sound ‘lively’ and interesting when talking

  • Use gestures along with words e.g. say "bye-bye" and wave.

  • Sing songs or nursery rhymes

  • Look at books together and tell your baby what you see

First Words

Around the age of 1 year children start to use recognisable words e.g. "mama", "teddy". Every child’s first words will be different depending upon their experiences, toys, foods etc.

For more information see:

Listen Think Talk

Coventry talk now - Stage 2 FirstWords


  • Talk to your baby in simple sentences about the things that are going on around them. Don’t ask questions

  • Look at your baby when you are talking to her

  • Give your baby the names of things she is interested in, e.g. “teddy”

  • Use proper words rather than baby words e.g. "cow" instead of "moo moo"

  • Sound ‘lively’ and interesting when talking

  • Use gestures along with words e.g. say ‘bye-bye’ and wave.

  • Sing songs or nursery rhymes

  • Look at books together and tell your baby what you see

  • Translate your baby’s gestures e.g. your baby puts her arms up… you say “up”

Combining Words

Around the age of 2 years your child will be using lots of different words. Once a child has about 50-words they start to put two words together e.g. "Daddy shoe", "mummy gone", "no juice".

For more information see:

Listen Think Talk

Coventry talk now - Stage 3 Combiner


  • Talk to your toddler in simple sentences about the things that are going on around them. Don’t ask questions

  • Look at your toddler when you are talking to her

  • Give your toddler the names of things she is interested in, e.g. “teddy”

  • Use proper words rather than baby words e.g. ‘"cow" instead of "moo moo"

  • Use gestures along with words e.g. say "bye-bye" and "wave".

  • Sing songs or nursery rhymes

  • Read books with pictures, rhymes, repetitive lines, and few words

  • Read favourite books over and over again so that your child can join in with words they know

  • When your toddler says a word, you add a word .e.g. ‘car’ you say “big car”.

Early Sentence User

Children start to use 3 words together around the age of 2 ½ - 3 years, e.g. “shoes off Mummy”, “no want juice”. They will start to use who and what questions.

For more information see:

Listen Think Talk

Coventry talk now - Stage 4 Early Sentence User

 

 


  • Give your child time to respond

  • Don’t be afraid to use new words when talking with your child.

  • Talk about things they are interested in

 

Later Sentence User

From around 3 – 4 years children will use more and more words They will make statements and ask questions, often with gesture. They will start sequencing events, allowing them to say what happened and what might happen.

For more information see:

Listen Think Talk

Coventry talk now - Stage 5 Later Sentence User

 

 

 


  • Give your child time to respond

  • Don’t be afraid to use new words when talking with your child.

  • Explain what new words mean – link them to ones they already know, e.g. "huge" means "really big"

  • Talk about things they are interested in

Skilled Communicator

Children will be using sentences from around 3 ½. They will use language for many reasons,, e.g. telling you want they want, asking questions and telling stories. They will start to be able to take turns in conversations and speak clearly with confidence.

For more information see:

Listen Think Talk

Coventry talk now - Stage 6 Skilled Communicator

 

 


  • Give your child time to respond

  • Don’t be afraid to use new words when talking with your child.

  • Talk about things they are interested in

  • Now you can use open questions such as "why...?" or "how...?"