Return to Child Speech-Language Milestones – the Stages of Development

Speech and Language Development Milestones 24 – 30 months


Milestones 24 – 30 months

This is a continuation of the speech and language development milestones resource from 24 to 30 months (between 2 to 3 years).

The rate at which children reach their speech and language development milestones can vary depending on the child and the environment that surrounds them. Some children will develop certain speech and language skills quicker than others. However, despite a bit of difference between children, we expect most children to develop certain skills within a certain time-frame. You will see that many skills mentioned in the content below may be repeated over several age groups as children are all different and some children take longer to develop these abilities. This information sheet is just a general guideline, and many experts vary considerably on what they believe to be the normal stages of development.

To try and make this information easier to read we have created a made-up child called Bill. Bill was lucky, he had a childhood free of any illness or accidents and he had pro-active parents who played with him and gave him lots of quality one-to-one attention.


Speech and Auditory Awareness Milestones

24 – 30 months

Bill is really starting to talk more freely now and by 30 months has an expressive vocabulary of 200 words. Many sounds have to develop still but he has m n p b t d h w in his inventory and ng k g are now being used more freely. More consonants appear in word final positions (m b p), although he still over pronounces some words, produces the same words differently, shortens words, and misses out medial (middle) sounds. Although Bill’s speech contains omissions and approximations, his speech is still 75% understandable to friends and family. His use of jargon is disappearing and he is able to whisper.


Expressive Language and semantics (content) Milestones

24 – 30 months

As the growth in single words increases Bill starts to use a lot more 2-word combinations. He begins to use verbs, uses some personal pronouns (me/you) and possessive pronoun “mine”, and begins to use his own name to talk about himself. He can now answer “who/what” questions and uses negation “don’t / no”. Bill imitates new words that others say and uses words in creative ways (e.g., a stick thrown into the sky becomes a bird).


Social use of Language (use and pragmatics) Milestones

24 – 30 months

Bill is now referring to himself by name. He is more readily responding to requests from adults as well as requesting more information about new things in return. He wants to describe events after they occur and is becoming more skilled with turntaking and conversation. He will verbalize basic needs for food and drink. Bill starts to initiate pretend play more often and starts to play parallel with other children. He is imitating symbolic play e.g. household activities and using one object for another, and pretending to talk on the phone.


Receptive language (comprehension, perceiving and understanding) and cognition Milestones

24 – 30 months

Along with the growth in expressive language Bill’s understanding of language is growing at a fast rate. He is following 2-step instructions easily and understanding sentences containing simple prepositions – in/on/under and different sizes (big / little). His understanding of pronouns also increases and he can differentiate between he/she/they/we. Bill probably now understands the meanings of between 500-900 words, which is far in excess of the words he actually uses expressively. Bill is also developing other skills, he can match identical pictures and shapes and is understanding number concepts one and two. Bill is well aware of cause and effect now and knows that pressing buttons and pulling strings make things happen.


Morphology and syntax (structure) Milestones

24 – 30 months

Bill is combining 2-word phrases and may even be attempting simple 3-word phrases as his confidence grows e.g. “Daddy bye-bye.” He begins to use verbs, uses some personal pronouns (me / you) and possessive pronoun “mine”, and begins to use his own name to talk about himself. He can now answer “who/what” questions and uses negation “don’t / no”


Gross and fine motor skills Milestones

24 – 30 months

Bill is now climbing easy apparatus, jumps with 2 feet together and is attempting to use a tricycle. His fine motor skills are also developing at a fast rate with Bill eating skilfully with a spoon and putting on his hat and shoes. Bill is also becoming better at manipulating his toys, building a tower of 4-6 blocks, painting dots and lines and imitating horizontal and vertical lines and circles. He is activating mechanical toys and being able to place a triangle, circle and square in shape board, and thread a bead.


Go to our Milestones Resources section for Downloadable facts-sheets about child speech and language development milestones. Click Here


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