Toddler Talking Milestones

image001There are few more magical moments in life than hearing the very first words of your pride and joy. Over time, your child hears the language being used around them and eventually assembles the pieces of the puzzle in order to put full and coherent sentences together.

The first year is one of incredibly cute babbling and imitation, but from then on in it’s quite remarkable how fast toddler talking milestones develop. You won’t believe how quickly they’ll be making requests, questioning everything they see and telling you how they feel.

Toddler Talking Milestones—How It Develops

Every time you make a visit to your doctor, you should make time to chat about how your toddler’s speech is coming along. Without plenty of information and often the advice of a professional, it’s often difficult to determine whether or not a child is learning to speak at a normal pace, is something of a late-bloomer or perhaps has language delay that demands attention. Normal development is loosely defined as follows:

1. Up to 12 Months

During their first year, a child should clearly be making plenty of effort to babble and coo on a regular basis, which by the age of nine months will usually progress into imitation and producing regular, different words/sounds like ‘dada’ and ‘mama’ for example.

Before their first birthday, you should also be on the lookout for the child’s growing ability to link names and sounds with the objects around them – their bottle, blanket or pacifier, for example.

2. From 12 to 15 Months

A few months into their second year, it’s normal for a child’s babbling to still be largely unintelligible though should at this stage be more diverse in terms of the sounds they’re able to make. There will also be many more signs of imitation, which will go beyond simple noises and start moving toward simple words. In addition, their understanding should have progressed to such a level where they’re able to respond to simple instructions, like “Give me the ball”.

3. From 18 to 24 Months

They say as a rule of thumb that a two year old toddler will know and be able to say about 50 words, but this differs massively from one child to the next. It’s at this age that word combinations should be used more frequently, examples might include “Big Ball” or “Daddy Sleep”. What’s more, you should by this stage be able to both say words like ‘ear’ or ‘nose’ and have your child point to them.

4. 2 to 3 Years

This is where some of the most dramatic changes of all creep into your child’s development. During their third year, their 50 or so words will increase to such an extent that it will be impossible to keep track of and count them all. In addition, they will by this stage be using multiple words at the same time – sometimes three or more – to create basic sentences.

As far as language understanding goes, there should also be some serious enrichment noticeable by the end of their third year. For example, when you say things like “Put the doll in the box” and they’ll understand and respond accordingly. They should also be able to decipher between certain colors and other things like size and basic shapes.

Toddler Talking Milestones—What Can You Do?

It should come as no surprise to learn that you as a parent will play the biggest role of all in nurturing and developing the speech and understanding of your toddler. Some of the things you should be doing will of course be obvious but others are less so – here’s a look at the most important examples of all.

What You Can Do


Talk to Them

You don’t necessarily have to give a 24 hour running commentary to your child on every single thing you do, but at the same time the more you talk them through everyday life, the more they’ll pick up. Tell them what you’re doing, what you’re picking up, what colors things are, what things are tall, what’s short and so on.

Resist Babbling and Cooing

It’s always tempting to encourage those cooing and babbling sounds for as long as you can, but these will in no way help develop their speech after the first year or so.

Read to Them

Invest in some colorful and enjoyable storybooks that will encourage your child to listen to and learn new vocabulary in association with the pictures it contains.

Listen to Them

If your child gets the impression that you hang on their every word when they are talking to you, they will naturally want to talk to you more and impress you as much as they can. So don’t just hear them in the background – listen to them!

Use Simple Speech

Don’t go overboard and end up teaching them too many words that don’t exist, but try simplifying your speech more to a level they’re likely to understand.

Ask Questions Properly

Instead of asking questions like “Would you like an apple?” instead say something like “Would you like an apple or an orange?” – this way they have to speak a word other than just yes or no.

Give Feedback

When your toddler get something right, let them know they’ve impressed you and succeeded, as opposed to just moving on right away. This kind of reassurance goes a long way.

Make Talking Fun

Play games with them, sing songs with them, have a bubbly bath-time together or watch your favorite cartoons together – anything you can chat and bond over will work wonders

Watch a video for more tips to encourage toddler talking milestone development:

Toddler Talking Milestones—When Should You Be Worried?

Don’t ever jump to conclusions as all children develop at different rates, but there are nonetheless some signs to watch out for. If your child displays any of the following, seek advice just to be sure:


Signs for Concern

12 to 18 Months


No words being spoken at all prior to the child’s birthday, no real attempt to babble on a daily basis and little to no response when their own name is being called.

19 to 24 Months

Little interest in imitating the words of others or speak without heavy prompting. If you cannot understand what they’re saying and they don’t get frustrated or upset, this could also signal a problem.

Up to 36 Months

By 30 months, your child should be able to understand plenty of instructions, respond to commands, ask question and pronounce a good variety of words with ease. If not, you should take your baby to a professional.

Watch a video---Speech Developmental Milestones: how it develops and what problems there may be: