By the end of 18 months

By the end of 18 months, your child might:

  • Point to an object or picture when it's named
  • Recognize names of familiar people, objects and body parts
  • Follow simple directions accompanied by gestures
  • Say as many as eight to 10 words

By the end of 24 months

By the end of 24 months, your child might:

  • Use simple phrases, such as "more milk"
  • Ask one- to two-word questions, such as "Go bye-bye?"
  • Follow simple commands without the help of gestures
  • Speak at least 50 words

When to check with your child's doctor

Talk to your child's doctor if your child hasn't mastered most of the speech and language development milestones for his or her age or you're concerned about any aspect of your child's development. Speech delays occur for many reasons, including hearing loss and developmental disorders. Depending on the circumstances, your child's doctor might refer your child to a hearing specialist (audiologist) or a speech-language pathologist.

In the meantime, talk to your child about what you're doing and where you're going. Sing songs and read together. Teach your child to imitate actions, such as clapping, and to say animal sounds. Practice counting. Show your child that you're pleased when he or she speaks. Listen to your child's sounds and repeat them back to him or her. These steps can encourage your child's speech and language development.

Mar. 09, 2013 See more In-depth