Language Express Preschool Speech and Language Services System of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville.

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Milestones - By 3 Years - Print Version

The developmental milestones listed within each of these age groups mark the progress of young children as they learn to communicate and develop their speech and language skills. If your child is not meeting one or more of the developmental milestones or if you are concerned about your child's speech and language development please contact us at: 1-888-503-8885


  • Understands same/different, one/all, heavy, night/day
  • Understands “who,” “what,” “where,” and “why” questions
  • Can find items that belong together (e.g. clothes, food)
  • Can solve simple puzzles (“Your hands are dirty. What should you do?”)


  • Says 4-7 words in a sentence (“I want my red ball”)
  • Asks “Who?” “What?” “Where?” and “Why?” questions
  • Can talk about something that happened in the past (trip to Grandma’s)
  • Can tell a simple story
  • Adults outside your family understand at least half of what your child says.
  • Can clearly make these sounds in words: p, b, m, n, h, w, d

Play Development

  • Begins to play co-operatively with other children
  • Enjoys short periods of pretend play (playing house or shopping or pretending to be Mommy/Daddy)

Teachable Moments

  • Point to the words as you read to your child.
  • Ask the child to be your “helper” and give him small jobs to do.
  • Read books with pictures and take turns telling stories about the pictures.
  • Play make-believe with or without toys (pretend to go shopping, play dressup, play with pretend toy garages, doll houses or kitchen sets).
  • Sort pieces of clothing while doing the laundry together (sort by colours, to whom it belongs, types of clothing).

Things You Can Try At Home

  • Read rhyming books and say nursery rhymes. Play rhyming games like: mat, bat, cat, hat.
  • Describe things in sentences (“I am really hungry,” “That’s a HUGE bite!”).
  • Repeat what the child says, using correct sounds and sentences (Child: “Me want doose.” Adult: “I want juice too. I like juice.”).
  • Talk about the ways things around you are the same/different. Sort things using colour, shape, size and location.
  • Give your child lots of chances to choose (“Do you want a pear or an apple?” “Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt?”).

What To Watch Out For

  • A child who drools a lot or who is a very messy eater
  • Periods of stuttering lasting longer than three months
  • A child who rarely makes eye contact and avoids being with others
  • A child who is very difficult to understand, even for his parents