Speech and Language Milestones for a 4-year old

Enrichment Therapies

June 5, 2023

young child smiling

By: Meghan Randig, M.A., CCC-SLP

Communication is multifaceted and looks a little bit different for every child. However, there are some general language abilities and milestones we can expect to see by a certain age. The following is an outline of language skills that most four-year-olds display.

Communicating Expressively

Expressive language abilities relate to what your child produces such as verbal speech, gestures, and more. Here are a few more signs of expressive communication:

  • Combines 4-5 words in a sentence 
  • Is about 90-100% intelligible to an unfamiliar person (e.g., a person at the store can understand about 100% of what your child says)
  • Uses many of these sounds: /b/, /p/, /t/, /d/, /m/, /h/, /g/, /k/, /f/, /w/, y, ‘ch’, ‘sh’, ‘juh’ and all vowels
  • Uses ending of words (“ed,” “s,” “ing”)
  • Uses past tense “-ed” consistently
  • Can repeat 3 random numbers (3, 5, 8)
  • Tells at least 4 of the following: first name, age, the city he lives, last name, boy or girl, telephone number
  • Can tell the names of two playmates (not including siblings)
  • Knows the names of numbers and counts as they point to each individual item
  • Can tell a short story

Communicating Receptively

Receptive language abilities are related to what your child understands.

  • Understands and answers complex questions like “What do you do when you’re tired?”
  • Follows 3-step unrelated commands
  • Answers a variety of wh- questions (e.g., who, what, where, why, when, how)
  • Understands words for time, like yesterday, today, and tomorrow 
  • Understands words for order, like first, next, and last

Play and Functional Skills

Play comprises expressive and receptive language, as well as the social-emotional component of language.

  • Puts clothes on by him/herself
  • Starts to understand the concept of time and the order of daily activities (e.g., breakfast is in the morning)
  • Recognizes some letters and can name a few colors & shapes
  • Pretends to be someone or something else
  • Takes turns during a game 

Boost Your 4-Year-Old’s Communications Skills with Help From ETLC

It is important to remember that every child develops at their own rate. If your four-year-old has not mastered everything on this list, do not worry. If you do have concerns with your child’s language development, consider a consultation, screening, or evaluation with a speech-language pathologist to get your questions answered. 

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center provides individualized speech and language support in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center, our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

info@enrichmenttherapies.com

740 Community Drive, Suite A

North Liberty, IA 52317

319-626-2553

 infodm@enrichmenttherapies.com

5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131

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