How much should my Toddler be talking (and ways to encourage your toddler to talk)

Toddler Language Development 

Many parents question “How much should my child be talking? They are unsure what consists of a “word” and what is babbling.  Language development happens in different age groups and stages.  How much should my toddler be talking can be explained in stages.  Everything doesn’t happen at one exact age but a range of ages.


As a Special Education teacher who works in Early Intervention, I discuss stages of language on a daily basis.  Between the ages of 18- 24 months your Toddlers language development is increasing. This age span is where you will see the most abundance of language. Your child will start repeating words frequently.



Click here to get your FREE copy of the language development chapter in the Toddler Enrichment Ebook.  Stages of Toddler Language Development chart included.



At this stage, “word” does not have its traditional definition. A toddler’s word for an object may not found in the dictionary. Other people may not know what the child is asking for either. This is all typical.



Banner of development guides to help understand how much should my toddler be talking

What I mean by “word” is what the child uses for a specific item consistently. As long as your child says their “word” for a certain item and doesn’t use it for anything else then it is a “word”. For example- My son would say “wawa” when he was asking for water. He used this word consistently for water and didn’t use it for anything else.


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You do want regular words in the mix as well, but don’t discount their atypical “words”. Children will start to put two words together. It will be a phrase, not a sentence. Example – “more cookie” or ” clean up”. Around 2 years-old your child will be saying more of a sentence. They will use proper words combined with their words to express themselves and ask questions. Toddler’s at this stage have more of an understanding of a conversation and want to join in with you. They can now use language to make choices and express feelings.



Click here to get your FREE copy of the language development chapter in the Toddler Enrichment Ebook.  Stages of Toddler Language Development chart included.


Purple and white cover of a Toddler Enrichment Ebook to help understand how much your toddler should be talking




Two is a great age in regards to language and personality. Your child can understand what you say, tell you what they want and what they don’t. They will also start to demonstrate their personality. Children will understand when things are funny. It’s a great time watching their personality develop.


Try to avoid comparing your toddler’s language with that of other children. Some children’s language skills progress steadily over long periods of time. Others develop large vocabularies in a few months. Remember, stages of early development is when milestones are reached and is not the same for every child. You are looking at the range.


For more information on Toddler Language Development, and all things Toddler be sure to look at the Toddler Enrichment Ebook. End your online search for toddler information and daily activities.

Preview of Toddler Enrichment Ebook. Help your child learn while maintaining your sanity.



How to Encourage your Toddler to Talk


Baby sitting with adult reading together. If you wonder how much should my baby be talking, reading a a perfect activity.

Parents have a major impact on their kid’s language development. When kids start school, they are expected to have a strong vocabulary. This foundation starts at home. As parents, we want to encourage language right from the start.


With your baby, you want to narrate your day. Talk about what you are doing all the time. This is the first step of language. They listen to you and get used to your voice. Children are introduced to new words. If I was in the food store, I would talk about what I need to buy and what was in each aisle. As you get them dressed announce a play-by-play. Talk, talk and continue to talk each day.


As your baby is getting older you want to give them cues to help them talk. Prompt them to fill in. You have to wait and give them a chance to answer. Sing songs or read a favorite book and stop, wait for your toddler to fill in the word. If you have a book you read every day and songs you sing, your child will know what comes next. They will get excited to fill in the word and be a part of the conversation.



Language Development 


Eric Carle mini library books are perfect to ready to help develop language.


Reading to your child is one of the best ways to encourage language. Reading will help build vocabulary. Have books in every room so it’s not hard for them to find one. Even before you read the book you can discuss the pictures. First, you point to the cow and then you ask your child “point to the cow or where is the cow.” They can interact and answer before they have the actual words.


You can also pause a favorite show when a question is asked. Have them answer the question. Example: Mickey Mouse says “Do you want to come inside?” Stop the show and ask your child the question. Then they have a moment to think that it was a question for them and that it’s ok to answer. After they answer, put the TV back on. This interaction is vital for increasing language.




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Repetition is key. You may feel that you are saying the same thing over and over, but that’s ok. Children learn from repetition. By hearing a word multiple times it helps them remember that word and what it is associated with.


Build on what your child says. If they say “bird” you say “Yes, the bird is flying.” This way you are confirming they are correct and expanding on what they said to introduce more vocabulary. Don’t criticize their efforts. Give your child simple 1-step and then 2-step directions to follow throughout the day. One step direction would be “get the car”. An
example of a two-step direction is “get the car and put away. This helps them to understand the meaning of words and being able to comprehend what you are asking.


Your child wants to be a part of the conversation. Help them join in whatever way they can.


This video goes over the strategies I discuss below.



Research-Based Strategies to boost language development

  • Repetition

Children learn from repetition. By hearing a word multiple times it helps them remember that word and what it is associated with.

  • Pointing

Pointing is one of the early ways that children communicate.  They will point to something they want. Take your child’s finger and have them point to pictures in the book.  You can ask them “Where is the cat” or you can point to the cat together and say “I found the cat”.  As your child’s point gets better then you ask more questions for them to find and point to. A gentle reminder to your child by saying “point to the cat”.

  • Labeling

Labeling helps to identify what an item or object is. Everything is new to your child and they need labeling to understand what something is.

  • Verbal Routines


  • Sign and Gestures

Pulling and pointing are some of the earliest gestures children do.  They will pull you to another room or pull you to the fridge when they want something.  When they do this give them words to use.  It’s a perfect opportunity to help them use words. Respond to your child’s gestures, this is how they are communicating with you.


Toddler Language Development Activities

  • Work on simple imitation
  • Narrate your day and everything you do
  • Discuss what your child is doing
  • Play Music
  • Read books
  • Sing Songs (hear you can print out song cards)
  • Back and forth interaction
  • Repetition, Repetition
  • Build on what your child says to make a sentence but don’t criticize


How much should my Toddler Be Talking and helpful ways to encourage language skills



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