Growth & Development

Language Development

Normal Development:

  • Babbling seems less random, and you can notice changes in your baby’s tone (8–14 months)
  • Copies words they hear others saying (10–14 months)
  • Communicates different emotions like happy, sad, or mad (12+ months)
  • Says first words (12–19 months)
  • Number of words used begins to grow (13–24 months)
  • Uses words to express wants and needs (14–27 months)
  • Can correctly identify a picture with its name (14–24 months)
  • Identifies names of familiar people, objects, body parts (14–24 months)
  • Uses two-to-four word sentences (16–30 months)
  • Knows about 200 words (16–24 months)

What You Can Do:

  • Encourage your baby to tell you what they want or need by giving them choices (Ask which diaper they want to put on, what cup they want)
  • When your baby points to something and tries to identify it (with grunting or words), encourage them by saying what the object is and describing it (“Dog. Yes, that’s the dog next door.”)
  • As your baby begins to use more words, ask them to tell you how they are feeling.
  • Even if your baby’s words are hard to understand, you are teaching them that they can use words to communicate.
  • Simple picture books are great to help build communication skills.
  • Make changing time fun by pointing to and naming the piece of clothing you are putting on him or her body parts involved.
  • When reading, talk about the emotions of the characters you see in pictures

Our Advice:

  • It’s great to give your child choices to give them a sense of control, but try to only give two options. More than that can be confusing or overwhelming.
  • Try not to speak for your child; even though their language isn’t fully developed and can be hard to understand at times, it is important you give them the chance to get their words out.
  • Give your child their own time to talk, without interruptions from you or anyone else.
  • Instead of correcting your baby, try repeating the correct version of what they say.
  • When reading, point to both the pictures and words.
  • Between 12-18 months it is completely normal for children to develop language at different speeds.
  • It’s okay to talk to your child even if they don’t understand every single word you use. The other words in the sentence will help them start to learn new words.

Try not to compare yourself to other parents, or your baby to other babies. Every family is different!

Content created in partnership with
Seedlings Group