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Communication Milestones Between 3 and 4 Years of Age


At this age, children are becoming increasingly good at using language to communicate. Typically, a child at this age will

  • Follow directions that require paying attention to more than one piece of information
  • Use language to express emotion (e.g., "I don't want to" or "He's happy").
  • Use sentences of 5 or more words
  • Have a lot to say, but may have choppy speech, or repeats words
  • Can tell you about an experience in the past
  • Has conversations with different people about different things
  • Asks questions frequently
  • Understand that different behaviors are expected at different social situations (for example, being quiet at a library)
  • Role play and create stories, especially when playing


Speech, Language, & Hearing Milestones: 3 to 4 years, video excerpt offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (

Red Flags

Seek the advice of your pediatrician or a speech-language pathologist if you observe the following with your child:

  • Having trouble communicating in short phrases
  • Cannot follow directions or answer questions
  • Little or no interest in other children
  • Limited pretend play and play with toys
  • Not sustaining interactions or conversations for more than a few turns

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