Your 18 Months Old’s Early Vocabulary

Your 18 Months Old's Early Vocabulary

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An 18-month-old’s vocabulary and ability to understand, comprehend and follow instructions can surprise parents. They’re no longer small infants but are moving on to becoming confident toddlers. Familiarise yourself with these important changes and find out how you can help your child’s vocabulary develop.





A look at your 18-month-old child can reveal numerous changes from when she was 6 months or even a year old. Soon, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with a curious toddler whose questions never end. But, before that happens, you need to try to understand her level of communication so you can help her develop it further.

Decoding a Toddler’s Vocabulary and Communication Skills

  • She Can Utter a Few Words:

    At this age, your child can speak about 5-20 words. While some like ‘mummy’ may be exclusive to you, she could show a tendency of using a word for a group of things. For instance, everybody except you will be ‘daddy’ or ‘papa’ for her. She may create her own word for a group of things and use it for another bunch of objects too. At 18months, she will also be able to say a few pronouns like ‘mine’ or ‘his’, and may point out to an object and say ‘this’. She may also understand the concept of ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘small’ and ‘big’. However, she may be selective in displaying these newly-acquired abilities, and will be most communicative with you and your husband.

  • She Can Recognise Words:

    There’s no strict number to how many words an 18-month-old should say. However, they can add 1-2 new words to their list every day. Their vocabulary may consist of as many as 200 words though they haven’t learnt to say them yet. When you say ‘sky’, ‘grass’, ‘car’, ‘juice’, ‘water’, ‘food’ etc., there’s a good chance you’ll get a response from your child.

  • She Can Comprehend Instructions and Questions:

    Your toddler may be able to recognise a large number of words, but she’ll really understand those that are being used daily or frequently. At this stage, she can also understand instructions like ‘Get the ball from your room’, ‘Let us go to bed’ and ‘Do you want more?’ Asking her more questions and giving more instructions can help her develop her vocabulary and communication skills.

  • She Can Speak Short Sentences:

    Grammatical development also begins at this stage and while toddlers may not speak complete and complex sentences, you may hear disjointed sentences and phrases such as “Want play” for “I want to play”. Tonality will also vary and you’ll be able to understand when she asks for something or is simply trying to talk. Children of this age may also point at an object and say familiar words. At this time, you must help her build sentences so she can learn them better.

As your toddler goes through this interesting stage, she could develop quicker or slower than her peers. Unless she displays noticeable signs of developmental delay, don’t be alarmed. Even if your 18-month-old is only doing two out of the four points mentioned above, you shouldn’t worry. Continue to guide her and she’ll soon learn the rest.