How to help young children reach their communication milestones
Communication milestones are a significant part of any child’s life. From making their first sounds, to saying words and eventually telling stories, kids will typically develop their ability to communicate as they grow up.
Children learn to communicate throughout their early life experiences, by interacting with others. This may include early childhood educators, their family, and friends/peers at childcare.
What are communication milestones?
Children will always vary to some extent in the development of their communication (speech and language) skills. However, as a general rule, they follow a natural progression for developing and mastering their communication skills. An example of a communication milestone is that, ’typically at 2 years, children can say approximately 50 single words.’ These milestones can be a helpful indicator as to if your child is on track with their communication, or if they may need some additional support from those around them.
Should I be worried if my child isn’t reaching all of these milestones?
It’s no secret that these communication milestones can create a lot of anxiety, for both parents and early childhood educators working with kids. It can provoke negative feelings of guilt, particularly for parents, such as ‘what if my child isn’t reaching these milestones? Am I doing something wrong? Will they ever catch up?’
Breathe! It is going to be okay.
You are not a bad parent. You are not a bad person! And you are not failing your child. And as for our amazing early childhood educators, please be kind to yourselves as well!
If you are worried about your child or someone in your centre not reaching communication milestones, there are a few steps you can take.
If you are a parent - speak to their Doctor and/or Paediatrician
If you are a parent - speak to their early childhood educator and facilitators – have they noticed anything at day-care or kinder? Sometimes, communication can vary across different environments. If you are an early childhood educator, speak to the parent about what they are observing with regards to the child’s communication at home and outside of childcare.
Get a referral for a Speech Pathologist – the earlier, the better, as waitlists can be long.
One size does not fit all when it comes to both determining if your child may have a speech or language delay, as well as the therapy that can support them best. Evidence-based research indicates that a person-centred approach to therapies, meaning it is individualised to meet a person’s unique needs, will show the best results. This means not always listening to ‘mum blogs’ and ‘Dr. Google’ when it comes to your child’s communication!
The waitlist to see a Speech Pathologist is so long, what can I do in the meantime?
This is the unfortunate reality for a lot of parents at the moment, as the demand to see a Speech Pathologist in some areas is higher than ever before. Whilst the most ideal scenario would be to seek individualised support (as mentioned above), this isn’t always accessible for everyone for a variety of reasons. This may include waitlists, costs, and time constraints when it comes to accessing Speech Pathology and therapy for your child. We hear you! This isn’t easy pathway to access, and this can lead to further frustration and anxiety.
So where to next?
Our brand new education sessions for childhood educators (and parents)!
We are passionate about providing Speech Pathology support in a variety of ways, to aim to create accessibility for everyone. We have developed a 45-60 minute presentation for early childhood educators and parents to learn tips and tricks to help little one reach their communication milestones.
Onsite training session for Childcare educators
This presentation ‘I’m working on your roar’ for early childhood educators will be presented by one of our clinical Speech Pathologists at your centre! Parents are welcome to attend too.
It will include information on
What are the communication milestones?
Practical communication strategies for parents and educators to implement
Resources and handouts
Opportunity for Q&A’s and open discussions with our Speech Pathologist
Parent workshop at OSCAR Care Group
This interactive workshop will provide parents with an opportunity to learn ‘play techniques’ to support their child reach their communication milestones. Ideal for parents with children between the ages of 6 months - 4 years.
There are opportunities available exclusively for parents and children who attend either of these education session for additional 1:1 support from our OSCAR Care Clinic (pending availability). Please note we are not currently accepting NDIS clients under the early childhood intervention program.
Natalie Ceravolo, Speech Pathologist for OSCAR Care Group