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Why is my 3-year-old toddler not talking?

There can be several reasons why your 3-year-old is not talking because there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to developing speech and language. Some children develop speech early for their age, some might develop around the average time, and some children may develop speech later than the expected age. It can be quite bothersome for a parent if their child hasn’t developed speech by the expected age.

Developing speech is an exciting milestone for both the parents and the child, as the child is now able to communicate their needs. Parents also get a better understanding of the child’s personality and interests.

Here are a few speech milestones as per the age of the child:

Here is a detailed checklist for you to get a better idea if your 3-year-old’s speech development is apt for their age or not:-

  • Respond when you call from another room.

  • Understands words for some colors, like red, blue, and green.

  • Understands words for some shapes, like circles and squares.

  • Understands words for family, like brother, grandmother, and aunt.

  • Answers simple who, what, and where questions.

  • Says rhyming words, like hatcat.

  • Uses pronouns, like I, you, me, we, and they.

  • Uses some plural words, like toys, birds, and buses.

  • Most people understand what your child says.

  • Ask when and how questions.

  • Put 4 words together. May make some mistakes, like “I goed to school.”

  • Talks about what happened during the day. Uses about 4 sentences at a time.

What Causes A Speech Delay In Toddlers?

  • Hearing loss- if a child doesn't hear, how would they develop speech?

  • Neurological Disorders such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or autism spectrum disorder can cause speech delays.

  • Speech and Language Developmental Disorders- difficulty producing sounds and forming words

  • Intellectual disability- a child faces difficulty in understanding language and processing information

  • Lack of stimulation

  • Speech sound disorders.

  • Cognitive delay

How To Help A 3-year-old develop speech:

  • Reading to them- is one of the best activities as it helps them understand how to pronounce the words, and develop grammar, you can also ask them to name the objects in the book. You can make it more fun by asking your toddler how the story should proceed ahead and giving your twist.

  • Talk to your child about what they (or other people) are doing to help them associate words with actions

  • Speak slowly and clearly- make sure you talk at a pace that is easy for them to grasp, and don’t pressure them.

  • Sing nursery rhymes with them.

  • Use nonverbal communication.

  • When someone asks them something, give them time to answer, and don't answer for them.

  • Act out daily activities, like cooking food or going to the doctor. Use dress-up and role-playing to help your child understand how others talk and act. This will help your child learn social skills and how to tell stories.

  • Even if you know what they need or what they want at the moment, wait for them to ask you.

  • Ask questions and offer choices, and give them plenty of time to think and respond. For instance, you can ask them what they want for breakfast, or what they want to wear.

  • You can play games like, treasure hunt- find the objects and name them, stacking the blocks- name the objects made on the block and spot them in the house if possible.

Praise them when they put in the effort to talk, as it will encourage them to try further and it will also boost their confidence.

Read more:- Why is my 2-year-old child not talking?

Sounderic provides online speech therapy sessions for children with various communication disorders. We would love to help you. Get in touch with us on WhatsApp at +919644466635 or schedule a consultation with us at

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