What Should 18 Month Old Be Saying

Title: What Should an 18-Month-Old Be Saying?


The developmental milestones of a child’s verbal communication are crucial indicators of their growth. At 18 months, toddlers begin to explore their language skills, expanding their vocabulary and attempting to communicate their needs and desires. While every child develops at their own pace, it’s important for parents and caregivers to understand the typical speech and language abilities an 18-month-old should possess. In this article, we will explore what your 18-month-old should be saying and provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding their speech development.

What Should an 18-Month-Old Be Saying?

1. Vocabulary Expansion:
By 18 months, toddlers usually have a vocabulary of around 20-50 words. They can typically say simple words like “mama,” “dada,” “e-e,” “ball,” and more. They may also attempt to imitate animal sounds or everyday objects they encounter frequently.

2. Two-Word Phrases:
At this stage, children may start combining words to form simple two-word phrases. For example, they might say “more milk,” “big dog,” or “e-e dada.” This demonstrates their growing ability to understand and express basic needs and wants.

3. Understanding Simple Instructions:
An 18-month-old should be able to follow simple instructions, such as “Give me the toy,” or “Put the book on the shelf.” They may not always comply, but their comprehension and ability to respond appropriately to instructions should be developing steadily.

4. Pointing and Gesturing:
Toddlers also rely on non-verbal communication methods, such as pointing and gesturing, to express their needs or interests. By 18 months, they should be pointing to objects or pictures in books when asked, indicating their understanding of basic language concepts.

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5. Babbling and Attempted Conversations:
While their speech may not be fully understandable to others, 18-month-olds often engage in babbling and attempted conversations. They may engage in back-and-forth exchanges, using expressive gestures, facial expressions, and vocalizations to communicate their thoughts and feelings.

6. Imitating Sounds and Words:
Children at this age are usually highly observant and imitate sounds and words they hear around them. They may try to repeat words they find intriguing or those they hear frequently, showing their growing ability to mimic speech patterns.

7. Social Interactions and Expressing Emotions:
An 18-month-old should be actively engaging in social interactions, showing an understanding of emotions and using simple words or gestures to express their own emotions. They may use words like “happy,” “sad,” or “no” to convey their feelings.


1. What if my 18-month-old is not saying any words yet?
It’s important to remember that every child develops at their own pace. If your 18-month-old is not saying any words yet, it is recommended to consult with a pediatrician or speech-language pathologist for a professional evaluation. Early intervention can help identify any potential speech delays and provide appropriate support.

2. My child doesn’t seem interested in talking. Should I be concerned?
Some children take longer to show interest in verbal communication. However, if you notice a significant lack of interest in communicating or responding to sounds and words 18 months, it’s advisable to seek professional guidance to rule out any underlying issues.

3. Can I help my child’s speech development at home?
Yes, there are several ways you can support your child’s speech development at home. Engage in frequent conversations, read books together, sing nursery rhymes, and encourage them to imitate sounds and words. Using descriptive language and providing a language-rich environment can also be beneficial.

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4. Should I correct my child’s pronunciation errors?
While it’s important to model correct pronunciation, avoid constantly correcting your child’s speech. Instead, respond to their attempts and encourage their communication. Correcting them too often may discourage them from speaking and hinder their confidence.

5. Is bilingualism a concern for speech development?
No, being exposed to multiple languages does not cause speech delays. In fact, growing up bilingual can have cognitive and linguistic benefits. However, if you have concerns about your child’s speech development, seek professional advice to ensure they are progressing appropriately in both languages.

6. My child seems to have difficulty understanding instructions. What can I do?
Use clear, simple language when giving instructions and make sure to use gestures or visual cues to support understanding. Break instructions into smaller steps if needed and provide repetition and reinforcement. If concerns persist, consult a professional for further assessment.

7. When should I be worried if my child’s speech isn’t progressing?
If your child is not meeting the typical milestones mentioned earlier or shows a significant regression in speech and language abilities, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a speech-language pathologist for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate intervention.


Understanding the speech and language milestones for an 18-month-old is essential for parents and caregivers. While every child develops at their own pace, keeping an eye on their progress and seeking professional guidance when necessary can ensure optimal speech development. Encouraging their communication skills through interactive activities and providing a language-rich environment at home can further support their language acquisition journey.

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