At age three years, your child should:
- Use short sentences to announce what he or she is doing or has done
- Ask "What?" questions frequently
- Answer yes or no questions correctly
- Have a vocabulary of 900 to 1,000 words
- Give name, sex and age and be able to sing several nursery rhymes
- Use regular past tense markers (i.e., "walked," "looked")
- Use "is," "are" and "am" in sentences
- Use the following pronouns: I, me
- Begin to obey prepositional phrases like "Put the block under the chair"
- Express fatigue verbally
- Present speech that is 50 - 75% intelligible
- Produce "m, n, ng, p, f, h and w"
- Stay with an activity eight or nine minutes
At age three your child may:
- Tell a simple story, mixing real and unreal facts
- Use the following pronouns: he, she, you, me, I, mine
- Understand "yesterday," "summer," "lunchtime," '"tonight"
- Talk when playing alone
- Continue to have easy dysfluent speech
You can stimulate the speech and language development of your three-year-old by:
- Using words he or she has trouble with frequently in your speech
- Talking about similarities or differences between things
- Encouraging your child to tell stories using books and pictures
- Reading longer stories to your child
- Paying attention to your child when he or she is talking, remembering that repeating words and sounds is normal during this period of growth
- Allowing your child to play with other children
Some specific activities are:
- Talking with your child about the attributes of objects; for example, when playing with a toy car, talk about the color, the size, the sound it makes, etc.
- Singing nursery rhymes with physical movements, such as "Ring Around the Rosey"
- Exposing your child to different surroundings and the vocabulary that would be used in them; using vocabulary words to describe what is going on when: you go on a walk, go shopping, plant a garden or clean the house
If you are concerned that your child may not be developing these skills as he or she should, you may seek the advice of a speech-language pathologist.