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Unlocking the Language Journey: 8 Milestones in Toddler’s Speech Development

The path to language development is a unique and diverse journey for each child.

Toddlers progress at their own pace, focusing on various skills such as puzzles, physical activities, and language acquisition, which may seem to take a temporary backseat.

During the period between 18 and 24 months, significant milestones begin to unfold, paving the way for your toddler’s blossoming speech. Here are eight notable ways toddlers start to communicate during this period:

  1. Expanding their vocabulary: Between 15 and 18 months, toddlers typically use around 10 to 15 words. As they approach 24 to 30 months, their language skills take off, and their repertoire may expand to more than 50 words.
  2. Understanding and following two-part directions: Around 18 to 24 months, your toddler begins comprehending and responding to two-part directions. To support their understanding, focus on one type of action at a time, such as “Give me the ball and give me your shoe” or “Touch your nose and touch your belly.”
  3. Forming two-word phrases: Between 20 and 24 months, toddlers start combining two words to create meaningful phrases like “no sleep” and “more water.” As they approach 24 to 30 months, they may progress to stringing together three-word phrases.
  4. Imitating environmental sounds: Around 21 months, toddlers often mimic the sounds they encounter in their surroundings. Whether it’s animal noises, vehicle sounds, or other familiar environmental sounds, they delight in imitating the world around them during play.
  5. Increasing intelligibility: As your toddler approaches the age of two, you’ll notice a significant improvement in their language clarity. You’ll likely understand about 65% of what they say, even if others find it harder to decipher.
  6. Exploring jargon: Toddlers engage in self-talk known as “jargon,” where they mimic speech sounds and practice conversational rhythms. Through volume, tone, and inflection, they emulate the patterns of real conversations.
  7. Utilizing their first name: Encourage your toddler to use their name by highlighting their helpfulness or involvement. For example, say, “Who is my wonderful helper? It’s Caroline!” Around 18 to 24 months, they begin grasping the concept of their name, while pronouns will come later.
  8. Singing familiar words: Between 18 and 23 months, you may catch your toddler singing a few recognizable words from their favorite songs. They might repeat these words repeatedly, displaying their own unique musical style. Later, around 23 to 27 months, they may progress to singing entire phrases of songs.

Remember, even if your toddler doesn’t speak extensively or articulately, they are constantly absorbing and processing the language-rich environment they’re immersed in. Keep engaging in conversations, reading, narrating daily activities, and singing together—all of these interactions play a vital role in their language development.

Note: If you have concerns about your child’s language development, consulting with your pediatrician is always a wise step to take.