What Words Should an 18-Month-Old Say?
As children reach the age of 18 months, their language skills begin to develop rapidly. They have built up a foundation of understanding and are now ready to start expressing themselves verbally. While every child develops at their own pace, there are certain words and phrases that most 18-month-olds should be able to say. In this article, we will explore the typical language milestones for an 18-month-old and address some frequently asked questions regarding their speech development.
Language Milestones for an 18-Month-Old:
1. Simple words: By 18 months, most toddlers should be able to say simple words such as “mama,” “dada,” “e-e,” “ball,” and “dog.” Their vocabulary may consist of about 20 words or more.
2. Pointing: Children at this age should also be able to point to objects or people when asked to do so. They are beginning to understand the connection between words and objects.
3. Following simple instructions: An 18-month-old should be able to follow simple instructions like “come here,” “give me,” or “sit down.” They are developing their receptive language skills, which means they can understand and comprehend what is being said to them.
4. Combining words: While their sentences may not be grammatically correct, most 18-month-olds can start combining two words together, such as “more milk,” “big dog,” or “no nap.”
5. Naming familiar objects: Toddlers at this age should be able to name familiar objects in their environment, such as “cup,” “book,” “shoe,” or “car.” They are expanding their vocabulary and making connections between words and objects they encounter daily.
6. Social words: Many 18-month-olds can say basic social words like “hi,” “e,” “please,” and “thank you.” They are beginning to understand the importance of politeness and social interactions.
7. Imitation: At this stage, children are excellent imitators. They may try to repeat words or phrases they hear from others, even if they don’t fully understand their meaning.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
1. What if my 18-month-old is not saying any words?
It is common for children to develop language skills at different rates. However, if your child is not saying any words or seems significantly behind in their communication skills, it may be helpful to consult a pediatrician or speech-language pathologist for an evaluation.
2. Should I be worried if my child’s speech is not clear yet?
Clear speech may take some time to develop. It is normal for 18-month-olds to have some difficulty with pronunciation. As long as your child is attempting to communicate and is showing progress in their language skills, there is usually no cause for concern.
3. How can I encourage my 18-month-old’s language development?
You can support your child’s language development talking to them frequently, reading books, singing songs, and engaging in interactive play. Create an environment rich in language and provide opportunities for communication.
4. Is it normal for my 18-month-old to understand more words than they can say?
Yes, it is common for children to understand more words than they can express verbally. Receptive language skills typically develop faster than expressive language skills. Keep providing your child with opportunities to practice their speech and vocabulary.
5. What if my child is not pointing yet?
While pointing is a developmental milestone, some children may skip this stage altogether or use alternative ways to communicate their needs. If your child is not pointing 18 months, consult a healthcare professional to ensure their overall development is on track.
6. Should I correct my child’s pronunciation at this age?
It is important to model correct pronunciation for your child, but avoid constantly correcting them. Instead, repeat their words back to them correctly. Over time, their speech will naturally improve with exposure and practice.
7. How can I tell if my child has a speech delay?
If you notice that your child’s language skills are significantly behind their peers, they struggle to understand or follow instructions, or they have difficulty producing sounds, it is advisable to seek professional advice. A speech-language pathologist can assess your child’s communication skills and provide appropriate guidance.
In conclusion, an 18-month-old should be starting to use simple words, follow instructions, and combine words to express themselves. While every child develops at their own pace, it is important to encourage their language development through interaction and exposure to language-rich environments. If you have any concerns about your child’s speech development, consult a healthcare professional for guidance and support.