Talking with Toddlers (1-2 year olds)

Toddlers love experimenting with sounds and making noises. This is all part of getting ready to talk. 

Before they can say a lot of words, they will use their body to tell you what they mean – by pointing, moving or shaking their head. By labelling what they point at or naming their action you can teach them new words – That’s a bird in the tree! 

By the age of 2, toddlers usually have a few words, even if only you can understand them.  

What can toddlers usually do by 18 months?

  • Understand up to 50 words.  
  • Follow simple instructions, such as “throw the ball”. 
  • Point to familiar objects when you ask them. For example, “Where is the cup? 
  • Say 6-20 words. Some will be easier to understand than others. 

What can kids usually do by 2?

  • Point to body parts and pictures in books when you name them. 
  • Say “no” when they don’t want something. 
  • Put two words together – such as “bye teddy” or “no ball”. 
  • Start to use “mine” and “my”. 
  • Say more than 50 single words. 

It’s important to remember that every child develops at a different rate. Continue to be positive and encouraging. 

This is a just a guide for what you can expect. Every child develops at their own rate. Your child may be faster or slower at talking and listening than others.  

If you have any concerns about your child, talk to the educators at your local Child and Family Learning Centre, your local child health nurse or family doctor. Find out what to look out for to see if your child needs extra help with speech and communication.

arrows pointing to body parts
Can you name the parts of your body?
Music talk
Can you sing a song?