Stages of communication

Complete our online feedback questionnaire for the 'Chat with me' book

It’s never too early to help support your child’s talking. You can even start talking, reading and singing to your child while you are pregnant.

Below are some tips for each stage of development. 


I’m in your tummy but I can still hear you when you read and sing to me. 

If you read the same book to me every day, when I meet you, we can read the book and it will calm me.

Talk, sing and read to me everyday. I’d love to hear other important people in my life read, sing and talk to me too.

For more advice on talking to bump visit BBC Tiny Happy People.


I get my message across by doing lots of things without using words.  I might point, reach for or give you something, use gestures or show you by using my face, look at you or I might use sounds.  There are lots of things I can tell you without using words.

Watch me to see what I’m trying to tell you. Tell me what you think I was trying to say e.g. I might look at you to show you that I need help with my jigsaw, you can then tell me ‘Here’s the motorbike for your jigsaw’.

For more advice on tuning into baby's interests visit BBC Tiny Happy People.

First words user 

I’m beginning to talk to you using words, these might not be clear yet but I’m trying to use single words to get my message across e.g. ‘apple’.

Repeat the words back to me so I can hear the word said the right way and then you can add some other words e.g. ‘apple’, ‘it’s a juicy apple’.

For more advice on how to help your toddler talk visit BBC Tiny Happy People


I’m really getting the hang of this now and I’m starting to put two words together such as ‘nanny’s car’, ‘want milk’ etc.

Make what I say into a sentence e.g. ‘Yes here comes nanny’s car’, ‘you want milk, here’s your milk it’s nice and cold’.

For more advice on how to expand toddlers' words visit BBC Tiny Happy People.

Early sentence user 

I’m nearly there because I can now use short sentences such as ‘I’d like to go to the park’.

Add some new ideas to what I’m saying e.g. ‘Yes, let’s go to the park, we can go on the swings and down the slide’.

For more advice on helping toddlers' talk in full sentences visit BBC Tiny Happy People

Later sentence user 

I can nearly talk like you, using long sentences and I might begin to join up sentences with words such as ‘because’.

Help me develop my understanding and imagination by talking about things that I haven’t learnt about yet.

For more advice on toddlers' talking about the past visit BBC Tiny Happy People

Further support

For further support using pretend play to encourage language learning visit BBC Tiny Happy People

For more information about the stages of language development visit the Welsh Government poster