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Teach Your Baby to Talk

Teach Your Baby to Talk

Baby talk from 12 to 24 months

Typically babies can say between 10 and 20 words by the time they're 18 months old, although signing can help increase their vocabulary. (When Bingham's son was 17 months, he had 80 words in total–20 were verbal, 60 were signs.) To help encourage your child's speech and language development, read, sing and talk to her. Teach her signs or gestures for common items or phrases, especially those that seem to interest her most. And ask her questions, acknowledging her responses even if she's hard to understand. Studies show by 18 months, children can pick out grammatically correct sentences, even though they may only be able to say two words together.

By the end of 18 months your child may:

  • Point to an object when it's named
  • Recognize names of familiar people and objects
  • Follow simple directions, such as "Bring me the shoe"
  • Say up to 20 words


By the end of 24 months your child may:

  • Ask for common items by name
  • Use simple phrases, such as "more milk"
  • Begin to use pronouns, such as "mine"
  • Ask one- to two-word questions, such as "All gone?"
  • Say up to 50 to 100 words