18–24 Months: Your Child’s Development
This is a delightful stage as children begin to talk and talk and then talk some more.
Toddlers are also starting to pretend. This is a big step in their development and makes life really fun and often very funny. How do you see your child starting to use her imagination?
|What Your Toddler Can Do||What You Can Do|
|I am learning new words every day.||Turn your child’s words and phrases into sentences.|
|I need help to begin learning self-control.||Put your child’s feelings into words.|
|I am beginning to use my imagination.||Play pretend with your toddler and look for opportunities to jumpstart your child’s imagination.|
|I am a little scientist, always testing things out!||Encourage exploration!|
|I am becoming an even better problem-solver.||Help your child solve a problem but don’t do it all for him.|
Spotlight on Language Development Between 18 and 24 Months
Learning to talk is one of the most important milestones of the first few years. How and when young children learn to use spoken words is different for every child. Some children may use words early and often, while others may take longer to speak. (If you have questions about your child’s language development, talk with your health care provider or other trusted professional.)
Build your child’s vocabulary through repetition. When your child uses the same sound over and over to name an object, it is considered a “word.” If your child always says muh when he wants milk, it means that he understands this sound stands for a specific object—that yummy white stuff. Correct pronunciation will come over time. You can help him learn how to pronounce words by saying what you know he means: You want more milk?
Notice how your child uses her actions to communicate. Non-verbal communication is very important. When a toddler takes your hand and leads you to a toy, she is using her actions to say, I want to play with this toy. If your child is communicating through actions like this, her spoken language skills will likely follow. You can help by repeating the message your child is sending: You’d like me to play with you. Here I come!
Talk together with your child. The more you talk with your child, the more words he will learn. He’s learning language from you—his first, and best, teacher.
Young children benefit from learning two languages at the same time. This is a wonderful way for children to develop a close bond with their community and culture. As your child’s language skills grow, be prepared for some “language mixing.” It is common for children to combine words in English and in their home language in the same sentence.
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Learn how to nurture your baby's social emotional, intellectual, language, and motor development from 18 to 24 months. Explore more age ranges in our full Healthy Minds Series.