Your baby’s hearing and communicative development checklist

Birth to 3 Months

Reacts to loud sounds

Calms down or smiles when spoken to

Recognizes your voice and calms down if crying

When feeding, starts or stops sucking in response to sound

Coos and makes pleasure sounds

Has a special way of crying for different needs

 Smiles when he or she sees you


4 to 6 Months

Follows sounds with his or her eyes

Responds to changes in the tone of your voice

Notices toys that make sounds

Pays attention to music

Babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b, and m


Babbles when excited or unhappy 

Makes gurgling sounds when alone or playing with you


7 Months to 1 Year

Enjoys playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake

Turns and looks in the direction of sounds

Listens when spoken to

Understands words for common items such as “cup,” “shoe,” or “juice”

Responds to requests (“Come here”) 

Babbles using long and short groups of sounds (“tata, upup, bibibi”)

Babbles to get and keep attention

Communicates using gestures such as waving or holding up arms

Imitates different speech sounds

Has one or two words (“Hi,” “dog,” “Dada,” or “Mama”) by first birthday


1 to 2 Years

Knows a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked

Follows simple commands (“Roll the ball”) and understands simple questions (“Where’s your shoe?”)

Enjoys simple stories, songs, and rhymes 

Points to pictures, when named, in books

Acquires new words on a regular basis

Uses some one- or two-word questions (“Where kitty?” or “Go bye-bye?”) 

Puts two words together (“More cookie”)

Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words


2 to 3 Years

Has a word for almost everything

Uses two- or three-word phrases to talk about and ask for things

Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds

Speaks in a way that is understood by family members and friends

Names objects to ask for them or to direct attention to them 


3 to 4 Years

Hears you when you call from another room

Hears the television or radio at the same sound level as other
family members

Answers simple “Who?” “What?” “Where?” and “Why?” questions

Talks about activities at daycare, preschool, or friends’ homes

Uses sentences with four or more words 

Speaks easily without having to repeat syllables or words


4 to 5 Years

Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it

Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school

Uses sentences that give many details

Tells stories that stay on topic

Communicates easily with other children and adults

Says most sounds correctly except for a few (l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th)

Uses rhyming words


Checklist is based upon How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?, courtesy of the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association.