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Growth & Development

Language Development

Normal Development

  • Says first words (10–18 months)
  • Words aren’t always complete or said properly, but they have meaning (10–20 months)
  • Can carry out simple requests (“Please get your shoes”) (12–19 months)
  • Repeats single words spoken by someone else (16–19 months)
  • Adds 10–20 new words per day—including language they hear from others (18–24 months)
  • Can correctly identify a picture with its name (14–24 months)
  • Says names of familiar people, objects, and body parts (14–24)
  • Has a vocabulary of around 200 words (16–24 months)
  • Begins to put words together (20–24)
  • Begins to ask questions (especially “Why?”) (22+)


What You Can Do

  • Expand on what your child says (Child: “Red cup.” Parent: “Yes, that is the red cup you drink your water from”).
  • Allow your child to talk about stories you are reading
  • Ask questions
  • Encourage your child to describe things in detail
  • Use music, songs, and routines to help organize your actions
  • Speak clearly and not too fast
  • Be excited and enthusiastic when you talk, read, or tell stories
  • Talk about what you are seeing and doing, even if you think your child won’t understand all of it.
  • Use new words to build their vocabulary
  • Ask questions that require more than a yes-or-no answer
  • Be patient when waiting for answers (try not to answer for your child)


Our Advice

  • Don’t worry about grammar. Your child will learn it over time and through their experiences in the world around them
  • Lots of kids are hard to understand early on in their language development. Give them lots of time and practice and this will improve
  • Try not to use a pacifier outside of the crib
  • Try to use straw cups or real cups whenever possible. Sippy cups can hold back language development
  • Support your child’s attempts to talk and try not to correct or criticize him or her
  • Talking to your child is the best way to learn language—try not to use videos as a substitute!
  • Some children speak earlier and say more words than others—that is okay.

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