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Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool
Parenting Tips - Language & Speech for Ages 18 to 24 Months
This article is about language and speech development in 18 to 24-month-old toddlers.
When your toddler links words together what he says won't always make sense to you. This may cause some frustration for you and your little one. Repeat what he said back to him and try to get him to show you what he means. Gestures and pointing will still be an important part of communication.
Most of the words your toddler knows will be spoken in a toddler way. So instead of saying "kiwi," he may say "q-ee," or instead of "that," "dat." Resist the urge to correct him. If he says "q-ee," say "you want the kiwi," instead of saying, "No, say kiwi." Constantly correcting him will put him under stress and pressure to always get things right.
A good way to figure out what your toddler wants is by listening to his tone of voice. If he says "JUICE" in a loud excited tone it means he wants some juice, but if he says it normally he may be practicing the word.
Though your toddler's vocabulary is limited, he can understand much more than he can say. It's important that you help your toddler by giving him the words to describe different things. He may constantly point and say "What's that?" This is your opportunity to fill in the blanks for him. Use simple language when answering questions. Give him just enough information so that he can understand.
He may not get it right away, but eventually he'll know what it is, and how to say it.
When you read with your child let him interact with the story. If a book has pictures, see if you can get him to point out different things. Say, "Where's the red truck," and see if he can find it. You can also pause during phrases of a favorite book to see if he fills in the blanks. This will let you know how well his understanding is coming along.
Listening to songs, singing rhymes and making up songs of your own will make learning language fun for your toddler. It will also teach him about rhythm and sound.
Using words and gestures when singing songs like "head, shoulders, knees and toes," will teach him about words, his body and sounds.
If learning becomes fun for your toddler, his ability to pick up words and parts of speech will amaze you. By the time he's too his vocabulary could be as much as 50 words or more, and he may be able to hold a minimal conversation with you.