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What are the common speech milestones that an 18 month old attains?

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

How do I know if my child is developing appropriately for his age? What should I expect from an 18 month old child? Are there any specific activities that I can encourage to assist in the development of my child?

These are a few common questions we get asked often by the parents of toddlers. We understand you want to give your child a strong start in development, and we are here to assist you in every way possible.

Speech milestones for an 18 months old

Common speech milestones for an 18 months are:

  • Point to major objects in the room like fan, light, etc.

  • Follows simple directions like 'can you kiss mom', or 'take this out'.

  • Understands simple questions like 'Where's the ball? ', or 'where's dad?'.

  • Enjoys listening to songs, rhymes, storybooks, etc.

  • Understand prepositions like in, out, on, off.

  • Understands basic actions like clap, sit, jump, swing, etc.

  • Recognises names of familiar objects and people.

  • Uses alot of new words, the vocabulary of a 18 months old toddler can vary from 20 to 200 words.

  • Starts to name pictures in books.

  • Asks questions like, 'where's ball?', 'who's that', 'what's that?', etc.

  • Start putting two words together, like 'no more', 'no sleep', 'mommy look'.

How much should an 18 month old toddler talk?

When it comes to developing speech there is no specific rule as to how many words a child will speak at a certain age, all children develop speech at a different pace based on various factors like gender, genetics, external stimulus, and many more. Based on the average words spoken by about 90% of children of this age, your toddler should be able to use the following words to express himself/ herself.

  • Imitates play sounds and words.

  • Uses true words along with babbling.

  • Talks to themselves when they play alone.

  • Start using P, B, W, M, H in their speech.

  • Uses gestures to communicate.

What to do if your 18 month toddler isn't talking yet?

Worried how to create a stimulating environment to facilitate speech development for your toddler. Here are a few of our speech therapists' favorite strategies.

Nursery rhymes with actions

Various nursery rhymes like 'if you are happy and you know clap your hands' and much more can be very helpful for development of both understanding and expression of speech in your child. These rhymes help your child understand the actions and remember words easier.

Read to them

You can read colorful story books with cartoons and rhymes with them. It helps them understand language and learn how to pronounce words.

Tell your toddler what you are doing

Incorporate learning in everyday scenarios, you can ask them to help you with basic chores, and explain to them what you are doing. You can also ask them what they want for meals via open ended question, as it gives them an opportunity to formulate sentences. For instance, 'daddy is putting shoes on' or 'mommy is putting toys in the box'.

When they try saying words repeat it to them

The more your toddler will hear a word, the faster they will learn it. If your toddler pronounces or uses a word incorrectly in a sentence, correct the toddler with patience. Rather than being like that's wrong, you can repeat the sentence with a correct use of the word.

Infant-directed speech

The speech we use while talking to an infant or a toddler, like speaking slowly, with more repetitions and a higher pitch. It can help the child in developing joint attention skills, a larger vocabulary, and language development.

Gentle sabotage

It refers to withholding the toy or material the child wants in order to motivate use of expressive language. You can place their favorite toy a bit out of their reach so they have to ask you to get it.

A gentle reminder for all the parents reading the blog- Always remember not every child develops in the same way. Therefore the above mentioned speech milestones are approximate and are not exactly the same for all the children. If you are worried your child is lagging behind in speech development you can always consult a speech language pathologist/ speech therapist for further assistance.

Read more-

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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