Speech & Language Development ~ What Should My Three Year Old Be Doing?

A 3 year old child generally:

  • speaks in sentences
  • uses words like “and” and “but”
  • asks questions – who, what, where and why
  • enjoys stories, rhymes and poetry
  • plays well with other children
  • enjoys make believe play ~  playing house or acting out roles of Mommy and Daddy
  • plays simple group games like “Ring Around the Rosy”
  • likes to help with household chores
  • is beginning to learn to share

Concerns may arise if, most of the time, your 3 year old:

  • does not put 3 or 4 words together in a sentence
  • is not understandable when talking
  • repeats words and sounds (stutters)
  • uses mostly single words
  • does not hear you when you call from another room, or when you whisper
  • is not able to follow simple directions
  • avoids contact with other children, or is upset or aggressive when others are close by

Good things parents can do!

  • Have your child spend time with other children of the same age
  • Encourage sharing with others
  • Give 2 step directions ~ “Take off your shoes and put them in the closet”
  • Play with words ~ Make up rhymes and silly songs ~ Ask riddles
  • Have dress up clothes to play make believe
  • Encourage your child to tell you how she/he feels ~ “Your face makes me think you might be feeling sad”
  • Let your child help you cook
  • Have your child tell you a story about the pictures in a book rather than actually reading the book

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s development, contact your local Public Health Nurse or Speech-Language Pathologist.

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