This content uses referral links. Read our Disclosure Statement for more info.

My Toddler Isn't Talking!

     Lilly is not saying a whole lot right now.  I know of other toddlers her age who are saying a lot more.  The teacher in me knows that it is completely normal for some toddlers to not have many words.  In fact, as long as they are babbling, there really is nothing to worry about.  Well, the parent in me wants Lilly to increase her language development.  There are only so many times that I can hear her say, "da?" or "eh?" while she's pointing at something.

She is 19 months and here is a list of what she does say (and what it actually means):

Melissa and Doug

  1. Mama
  2. Dada
  3. Day-de (Daisy, our dog)
  4. Dis  (this)
  5. dat (dat)
  6. dan (dance)
  7. thnk nu (This one is hard to spell out.  She makes sounds that actually sound really close to thank you)
  8. Dees (cheese)
  9. Die Die ( bye bye)
  10. Done
     To reassure the parent in me, I went online to find some statistics about toddlers talking, and then some ways in which to help her progress. 
  • The average 18-24 month old will say between 10-50 words.  
  • Around the time of 18 months is when children have the biggest word spurt.  Most will be saying 50 words by 24 months.  
  • At two years old, she should start putting two words together. 
  • From 1-2 years, most parents will have to translate what their toddler is saying to others, because what they say is rarely spoken correctly.  
     According to most scientists and pediatric gurus, though, there are no set numbers for amount of words that should be said at any certain age.  Lilly does a lot of sign language that we taught her early on, and I was afraid that this could be what was hindering her language development.  I found a great article about it, here.  This article states that it is completely normal for toddlers to vary in language development and that sign language only helps them learn about two way communication at an earlier age.  They mention that the only reason to be concerned is if the child suddenly seems withdrawn and socially remote.  

If you are still concerned about your child talking then here are some suggestions that you can do to help. 

  1. Talk to your child.  This may sound obvious, but it really is the best thing you can do for your little one.  Talk about how you are changing her diaper, about what are you doing during each step of fixing her meal, explain everything that your baby encounters.  The more you talk, the more words that she will hear.  Also, the more she hears words repeated, the sooner she will understand it's meaning.  Encourage everyone in the family to talk constantly to her as well.  This way she will have more conversational interactions
  2. When your child does "talk" repeat what she said using the correct word and full sentences.  This way the child can hear the correct pronunciation and she is getting immediate feedback from her attempt at talking.  Telling her she said it wrong is not okay though.  Instead of saying, "No, it's not 'dat'," say, "Okay, I can get you your cup of milk!"  Telling her she is saying it wrong will discourage her from continuing to try.  
  3. When your child points at something she wants repeat by saying, "Do you want the ball?"  Don't just give it to her.  Model the correct language. 
  4. Read books to your child.  Let them explore and go at the pace that they want.  If they want to stay at one page for 15 minutes then that is fine!  You can talk about whats going on, ask her to point to certain things in the picture, or vise versa, name the objects that she is pointing at.  If she skips pages, that is okay as well.  You don't want her to get discouraged with the book and then just crawl/walk away from it. 
  5. Encourage the babbling.  Even if you don't understand exactly what she is saying, engage in her conversation.  It will encourage her to continue "talking" and eventually start including some actual words.  
Honestly, it is nothing to worry about too much, and I know that all too well.  As parents, that's what we do, worry, but as long as you see progression everything is going fine. With my five year old, I felt the same way when she was a toddler, always worrying about her speech, and now, well now she won't stop talking! LOL