Speech Development for Toddlers 12 – 24 Months

CME WebsitesChild Development, Toddlers 12 - 36 Months

In speech development, typical 18-month-olds can:

  • Use 10-15 words spontaneously
  • Attempt to sing
  • Say “No” meaningfully
  • Gesture to express needs
  • Name one or two familiar objects

In speech development, most two-year-olds can:

  • Understand “no”
  • Use 10 to 20 words, including names
  • Combine two words such as “daddy bye-bye”
  • Wave good-bye and plays pat-a-cake
  • Make the “sounds” of familiar animals
  • Give a toy when asked
    Use words such as “more” to make wants known
  • Point to his or her toes, eyes, and nose
  • Bring objects from another room when asked
  • Repeat up to 4 word phrases
  • Attempt to sing using words
  • Refer to self by name
  • Be intelligible about half of the time
  • Identify pictures using words

Parenting Tips for Speech Skills

Suggested play to help a baby between 12 and 24 months develop its speech skills:

  • Clap to the beat. While listening to music, show your baby how to move and clap in rhythm. Expose your baby to everything from classical and country to rock and roll.
  • Make small sentences. When your baby hands you its cup and simply says, “Juice,” turn it into a small sentence. Say, “More juice?” This will encourage your baby to start making its own two word sentences.
  • Ring, ring, it’s for you! Next time a relative calls, ask them to talk to your baby. Your baby won’t talk back but it will be delighted to hear Dad or Grandmas voice on the other end of the phone.
  • Bring out the animal in you. Read books about baby animals and practice the sounds they make. Then you can be a Mommy cow and your baby becomes a baby cow. You’ll have fun mooing at each other.
  • What did we see? When you get home from the park or running errands, start talking about something you saw, it can be helpful to explain what you saw to another person. “Tell Grandma about the fire engine we saw.”
  • Play the help me game. Asking your baby to help you throughout the day helps it connect more words to the objects they represent. When you are getting dressed, point to your shoes and say, “Can you help me by getting my shoe?”
  • Wash from head to toe. When you are giving your baby a bath, name all of the body parts as you wash them. Make your baby’s head nice and clean, rub the dirt off its belly, don’t forget to clean the toes!
  • Reading is everywhere. Most parents take the time to read books to their babies, but remember to read wherever you are. If you are in a restaurant, read the menu together. At the grocery store, point out the words above the fruit to show that you are reading.