How Do I Encourage Communication In My 12-18 Month Old?

The best way to encourage communication in your 12 – 18 month old is to talk to him/her all the time.

Use your child’s name often so they learn to recognize who they are.    

Ask yes / no questions so your child can begin to discriminate between yes and no and better understand when they are told “no”.

Help your toddler to understand simple instructions by making requests of them like “shoes in cubby” or “drink on table”.

Ask your child what they want and encourage them to point to the object.  At this age, your child should be pointing to make their wants and needs known.  Be sure you give words to what they are pointing to so they learn the words.  Then encourage your child to repeat what you said.  Your child should be able to imitate you.  Your child should be able to say “mama” and “dada” and other familiar people and object names by this age.

Play fun games like Pat–a-cake and be sure to wave and encourage your child to wave bye-bye.  Ask your child to point to body parts.  Make sure you name each body part so that your child can learn the words to use.  Make animal sounds.  Books with real photos of animals are a great at to practice this skill.  Animal sounds teach the sounds a child needs to say words.  So practice animal sounds with your child.

Your child should begin to show a sense of humor at this age.  Tickle them and tease them so that they see you laugh and learn to laugh as well.

At this age your child should play well on their own.  He or she will not be good at sharing and will make it clear when a toy is “mine”.  This is ok as your child is developing independence and self confidence.

Remember your child learns best by imitating so encourage all around him/her to interact often.

If your child is not picking up on the above skills after encouraging them for a couple months, please reach out to your pediatrician and share your concerns.  ABC speech therapists love to teach parents how to encourage language in their children.  Speech therapists can work with your child as well to help them get to their peer level.  Visit our website for tips and tricks to help your child.



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Developmental Checklist

Is your child meeting their developmental milestones?