A vast range of vocabulary is displayed at this age as each child has a developmental pathway.
What is the average vocabulary of an 18-month-old?
“18 months old usually have 20-200 words in their vocabulary.”
The developmental milestones differ based on their preferences, interest, genetic constitution, and environmental exposure for each toddler.
For example, your toddler might have learned motor skills, whereas your friend’s toddler might have picked up communication skills, while some other toddler might have picked up artistic skills.
These toddlers might look very different for the same age, but they may begin to look alike from a developmental perspective in elementary school.
Toddlerhood usually marks a time for rapid vocabulary growth as these little human beings show curiosity backed by an extraordinary level of grasping.
Regardless of how many words your toddler can talk, the speech therapists ensure that 18 month old toddlers are continuously learning new words.
Rather than worrying about your child’s speaking skills, the first thing a parent must do is give them credit for all they have learned so far.
There are free vocabulary trackers online to track the vocabulary size of your little one. If your child is lagging as per the vocabulary benchmark standard, you need to address it.
Milestones related to speech and language
|1. Birth to 5 months|
- Vocalizes pleasure and displeasure sounds differently (laughs, giggles, cries, or fusses)
- Makes noise when talked to
2. 6 to 11 months
- Understands “no-no”
- Babbles (says “ba-ba-ba”)
- Says “ma-ma” or “da-da” without meaning
- Tries to communicate by actions or gestures
- Tries to repeat your sounds
- Says first word
|3. 12 to 17 months|
- Answers simple questions nonverbally
- Says 2 to 3 words to label a person or object (pronunciation may not be clear)
- Tries to imitate simple words
- Vocabulary of four to 6 words
|4. 8 to 23 months|
- Vocabulary of 50 words, pronunciation is often unclear
- Asks for common foods by name
- Makes animal sounds, such as “moo”
- Starting to combine words, such as “more milk”
- Begins to use pronouns, such as “mine”
- Uses 2-word phrases
Source: Stanford Children Health
2. Is it normal for 18 month old not to talk?
At times, the toddlers may show delayed developmental milestones which might raise concerns. Learning to talk may vary for each toddler; it is typical for a toddler to take longer than usual to learn to speak.
The least number of words that your toddler is expected to know is between 6 and 20 words. They can surely understand many more terms though.
If you notice your toddler saying fewer than 6 words, you must contact your health practitioner, as seeking professional help will be beneficial.
Talking is just one aspect of communication; there are plenty of other signs to look for to see that your little one is eager to communicate.
- Does your toddler point at something indicating they want to communicate with you?
- Is your toddler able to understand the simple instructions you give?
- Does your toddler try to copy your words and gestures?
- Does your toddler enjoy the stories you tell and points to characters when asked questions?
If your toddler actively reciprocates to things, objects, people, and the situation around them, perhaps they are only taking a little longer to learn speaking skills.
How can I encourage my 18-month-old to talk?
There are plenty of things that you can do to encourage your toddler’s vocabulary learning. You can always fasten up your child’s learning cycle by engaging in frequent conversations with your baby, reading out storybooks, naming the objects around, etc.
The best time to communicate with your kid is while doing your regular chores. Keep pointing and naming objects that you see around your kid.
Visual cues also help your toddler to learn quickly. For example, if you want your toddler to sit next to you, you must say, ‘Come on, sit here and pat on the chair seat to help them understand.’ The visual cue helps them realize what you mean.
When you see your little one develop new words, you must give loud praise to motivate them.
For Example, You asked, ‘What is this?’
The baby replied, ‘It’s a toy.’
You must ‘clap or say well done!’
Your little one is in the development stage and is still learning to pronounce the words correctly. It will help if you repeat back the words that you hear them saying to reinforce the correct pronunciation.
For example, if your baby says ‘dada,’ you could say, “Yes, that’s your dad .”The more you talk to your baby, the sooner they learn these new words.
If children live in a bilingual home, they may get confused between two languages. However, learning multiple languages only adds to memory and skills later on.
All toddlers stumble over their words often. Stuttering is a typical affair seen in them, but it gets better as they turn two. If you see the child’s responses are unsatisfactory, you must visit your General Practitioner and seek professional advice.
A child’s poor responses could be due to insufficient hearing power or autism. All toddlers carve their developmental journeys, and those who show delayed responses catch up as they grow.
At what age is speech considered delayed?
Usually, between 10 and 14 months, babies pick up their first words and start babbling. Babbling usually involves repeating the same syllable (ba-ba-ba), which evolves to become a little fancier with time.
Slowly this babbling will sound like clear sentences! If by 18 months or so, the baby cannot say a word combination of 2 syllables, then the speech is considered to be delayed. In such cases, you must visit your GP.
Key Take Aways:
- Babies usually start saying their first words around their first birthdays.
- Toddlers often start saying 2 words together between 18-20 months.
- If you notice a delay in speech development, please see your child’s paediatrician.