How Many Words Should an 18-month Say?

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If your child is already one year and a half, then you may also want to know how many words should an 18-month say. Note that kids learn how to speak at their own unique pace.

However, markers, otherwise referred to as milestones, can be used as your guide in gauging their ability to talk. Many healthcare providers use these milestones to determine if your child needs additional help.

18-Month Speech and Language Milestones

Starting at eighteen months, the language skills of your toddler will most likely flourish. With that, expect to have more interesting conversations with your kids. Upon hitting 18 months (or maybe around 12 to 24 months), your child may be able to do the following:

  • Point to major body parts if you ask them, like the nose, mouth, feet, and stomach
  • Understand simple questions – For example, “Who is that?” or “Where is your toy car?”.
  • Follow simple directions with one step – Ex. “Get that ball” or “Put that in your bag”.
  • Fond of hearing songs, nursery rhymes, stories, and fingerplays
  • Understand a few early prepositions, like on, in, off, and out
  • Select familiar objects derived from a group as you request them
  • Know familiar action words, like clap, jump, and swing

At eighteen to twenty-four months, many toddlers also recognize up to two hundred words, making it possible for them to use the words to create sentences composed of two to three words. For example, “No, that’s mine!” or “More cookies, please”. Your child may also start to ask for help through actions or words.

An 18-month-old can also say around twenty words, though, some of them are unclear. They will start talking words using a run-on flow as they also chat to themselves or with their favorite stuffed animals. In some instances, the words don’t make sense but being able to say some words is already a milestone and achievement at this stage.

It is also possible for an 18-month-old toddler to name pictures they see in a book. There are also a few instances when they can copy new phrases and words from others, like when you ask them to say, “Daddy’s car” or “Yummy milk”. You may also notice your child starting to learn how to sing simple songs through actions and words.

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    In addition, 18 to 24 months is the stage when they get to start using plurals and past tense. The fact that they are already speaking a few words, even if sometimes unclear, also means that other people outside your family start to understand them, too.

    How Much Should Your 18-month Toddler Talk?

    One thing to note about kids is that they tend to develop language and speech skills depending on their own unique pace. In other words, the 18-month-old speech and language milestones mentioned earlier are approximate. They may look different depending on each child.

    Note, though, that starting at eighteen months (or between twelve to twenty-four months of age), there is a chance for your child to use these words and the following expressing language abilities:

    • Uses real words within jargon – They may babble, too.
    • Imitates or copies words and sounds
    • Uses various speech sounds, like b, h, m, p, and w
    • Begins to name objects that are familiar to them
    • Uses gestures in communicating with others through intention
    • Starts asking simple questions – Example: “Where’s mom?”, “What’s that?”, or “Where’s my toy?”
    • Begins using language to meet their needs – For instance, they may say “more” if they still want to eat or drink more.
    • Starts putting two words together

    Eighteen-month-old toddlers will still do a lot of babble as they imitate adult conversations. However, with increasing frequency, you will start hearing them say clear words in the middle of talking.

    Note, though, that if your 18-month-old can’t still say a minimum of two words, then you have to tell his/her pediatrician or caregiver about it immediately. Your child’s caregiver may then do a hearing test or request a speech pathologist to evaluate him/her.

    Also, take note that tone means a lot and a bright and vibrant 18-month-old will quickly figure that out. Since your toddler still has limited vocabulary, expect them to combine simple words, body language, and inflection to communicate their point and convey their message.

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    As a matter of fact, the few words that they speak can already mean a lot. For example, if they say “candy”, you will realize that it does not just literally mean his/her favorite treat. The tone your child uses will make you immediately realize that they want you to give them candy now.

    A lot of 18-month-old toddlers also start referring to themselves using their own names. It may take several months before they will start pronouns, including “my”.

    What Can You Do to Help Improve Their Speech and Language?

    As a parent, there are also a few things you can do to improve your child’s language and speech. You can be considered as his/her first teacher so you really have a huge contribution to your child’s learning, language, speech, and brain development.

    Here are a few tips:

    Talk to them about sounds surrounding your home

    Let them listen to the ticking sounds of the clock or the plane and car sounds. Imitate the sounds and let them copy those, too. This is a good way to train them in producing sounds.

    You can also let them play with sounds when taking a bath. You can blow and pop bubbles and make their corresponding sounds that your child can imitate.

    Talk to them about the things they see in various places

    Bring your child to different places to expose them and give them various sensory experiences. You can then talk to them about what you see. Describe every interesting thing you see in a place.

    You can take a walk and then point an interesting object to him. Label or name it and then describe it for him.

    For instance, if you see a cat as you take him for a walk around the neighborhood, you can point it to him and tell him what it is. You can also describe it to him, like its color, size, and how it sounds (ex. “This is a big white cat. The cat says “meow”).

    Read stories

    Make it a daily habit to read or tell stories to your child. Look for books that have big pictures and only a few words per page. Make it a point to describe the pictures on every page as well as the things surrounding you.

    You may also start asking your child to name or label the pictures they see in books. Don’t feel frustrated if they don’t answer at first.

    If that’s the case, you can just name the picture/s you pointed to them. Eventually, you will be surprised that they are already the ones naming it even if you don’t ask them to.

    Speak to your child using the language that you can comfortably use

    It would be best to use your most comfortable language as you speak to your child. If the family uses multiple languages, allow your child to practice and listen to these different languages every day. Don’t worry as learning a couple of languages will never cause language or speech issues.

    Offer solid support for their unique speech and language development

    A 5-year-old may be capable of saying only a couple of simple words but you can expect their speech and language skills to develop quickly in the coming months. With that said, if you notice that your child is not speaking as much as the other 18-month toddlers you know, don’t worry too much unless there are really clear signs of speech delay.

    Just give them the proper support they need, so they can continue developing their speech and language skills. The support can come in the form of training them how to use the right words and grammar, so they can convey what they really wish to say properly.

    For instance, if you hear your 18-month-old saying “Kah” instead of a car, you can respond by saying “Yes, it’s a car. The car is blue. Watch the car run fast”. It’s also a good idea to use words that are already familiar with them as context, so they will learn more words.


    At eighteen months, your toddler may be experiencing a lot of great and significant milestones. It is the time when your child experiences fine and gross motor milestones, as well as language and speech development, and emotional improvement.

    At this stage, you can see your child walking without the need to hold onto anyone or anything. They can climb up onto chairs and a set of stairs. You will also enjoy him saying approximately three to twenty words aside from the names of the ones caring for him.

    You just need to have an idea about how many words should an 18-month say so you will know immediately that your child is on the right track.