12 to 18 Months
- Point to objects when asked a question (“Where’s the kitty?”)
- Point to own body parts such as nose, eye, mouth, hair
- “Jabber” (appear as if “talking” without using true words)
- Understand many familiar words
- Imitate words
- Say “no”
- Use 5 to 10 words
- Follow simple directions (“Don’t touch.” “Come here.”)
- Walk alone
- Talk to your child when you go for rides or walks, by pointing to and naming things you see.
- Encourage your child to repeat simple words like “ball,” “book,” “milk,” “cookie,” “bye-bye.” She won’t say them perfectly but praise her for an attempt. Repeat the names of things several times for your child to learn.
- Have your baby find different family members by saying things such as “Where’s Mommy?” or “Go to Daddy.”
- Teach your child his body parts. Name your body parts as you touch them and do the same with the child’s body. Bathing and dressing are good times to point to and name body parts.
- Play with a ball. Have her get the ball and then find the ball after you have hidden it.
- Help the child to become aware of sounds around him. Make the sound of a truck, “bark” like a dog, “meow” like a cat, etc.
- Look at books and magazines with your child. Talk to her in short simple sentences as you point out pictures. (“Kitty. That’s a kitty. It says ‘meow.’ Here’s the kitty’s nose. Here are the kitty’s eyes.”)
- Have your child listen to simple rhymes and songs.
18 to 24 Months
- Start using words rather than gestures to express wants and needs.
- Put two words together (“Puppy gone.” “Daddy bye-bye.”)
- Bring familiar object upon request from another room (“Go get your shoes.”)
- Select the correct object from a group of three to five items
- Point to pictures in a book and also name some of them
- Indicate “yes” by word or gesture
- Point to body parts on a doll as well as himself
- Respond appropriately to simple action words such as “sit down” or “stand up”
- “Jabber” a great deal
- Understand personal pronouns: me, you, him, her (“Bring it to me.” “Give it to her.”)
- Begin dressing self with help
- Have your child follow simple commands such as “Bring me the towel” or “Shut the door.”
- Play “Follow the Leader” to teach your child the meaning of action words. For example have her imitate you as you “sit,” “stand,” “run,” “clap your hands,” etc.
- Once your child is able to identify body parts on himself and others, have him find body parts on a doll and in large pictures of people.
- Find large, colorful pictures in a book. Have him point to and name the pictures when asked “What is that?”
- Encourage your child to repeat 2-word combinations such as “more milk” or “baby sleep.”
- Carry on a “conversation” with your child’s doll or stuffed animal. Pretend to feed it, put it to bed, dress it, etc. Tell the doll to do such things as “sit,” “stand,” or “walk.”
- Use pronouns with names so that your child will begin to understand the personal pronouns, “my,” “your,” “his,” and “her.” For example, use: “This is Timmy’s shirt….this is your shirt. Here’s Mommy’s shirt, my shirt.”
2 to 2 1/2 Years
- Use a variety of everyday words
- Have a vocabulary of 200-300 words
- Use two to three words in simple sentences (“Daddy go bye bye.”, “More milk.”, “Bobby fall down.”)
- Enjoy listening to a short story
- Start to use “me” for “I” (“Me want cookie.”)
- Add more action words to speaking vocabulary (“Sit down.”, “Run”, “Jump”)
- Follow simple commands without gestures from parent
- Understand the meaning of: in, out, on, off, up, down (“Put the block in.”, “Put your arm up.”)
- Identify actions in a picture (chooses correct picture when asked “Which one is eating, running, jumping?” etc.)
- Add to your child’s words. If she says “Puppy sleep,” extend her words by saying something such as “Right, the puppy is sleeping in her bed.” Do not expect your child to imitate your sentence, but use this as a way to provide a good language example. Use simple sentences.
- Plan a set time to read to your child. Her attention span is now longer. Select books with a simple story, not many words, and large colorful pictures. Use short simple sentences to describe the pictures. “The boy is riding his bike….Oh-oh, he fell down……See his bike….It’s down on the ground.”
- Point out your child in photographs and ask her to identify herself. Do the same with familiar people.
- Ask your child to respond to “What is your name?” Make a game having your toddler identify other family members by responding to “Who’s that?” or “What is her (his) name?”
- Let your child help set the table and have him repeat the names of things on the table.
- Have her name her clothes as she is dressing.
- Have your child put something in, on, or under. Talk about where things are. (I’m putting your shoes under the bed….You put the block in the can.”)
2 1/2 to 3 Years
- Speak in short simple sentences such as “Bear in my bed.” Or “Mommy daddy go work.”
- Know how simple objects are used (“Show me the one that we eat.”)
- Add more descriptive words to speaking vocabulary (hot, cold, big, little)
- Understand the meaning of: under, in front of, in back of, inside, outside
- Tell toilet needs
- Hold up fingers to show age
- Know difference between big and little
- Follow a two-step related command such as, “Get your coat and put it on the chair.”
- Continually ask questions beginning with “what” and “where”
- Count, “1,2,3″
- Match colors such as red, blue, and yellow
- Talk about big and small things. Point out differences in same objects such as a big ball and a little ball. Use your shoes and your toddler’s shoes to point out the size difference. “Mommy’s shoes are big….your shoes are little.”
- Try sorting big toys into one box and little toys into another box. Do the same with other items such as big and little spoons, dishes, etc.
- Have your child join in with simple nursery rhymes and finger plays. She may not be able to repeat the whole thing at this age, but she will enjoy filling in missing words and phrases. Gradually leave out more words as your child becomes more familiar with the rhyme. “The eency weency spider went up the __________.” “The eency weency spider________________.”
- Play children’s records and sing along. Play favorite ones over and over.
- Play “Follow the Leader” by asking your child to do different actions such as clapping hands, touching body and clothing parts, running, jumping, etc. Talk about what you’re doing. (“Now we’re walking.”) Then ask your child, “What are we doing?” When he responds correctly, reward him with praise such as “Right, we’re walking.”
- Take common objects and ask your child to identify them by their use. For example, show her an apple, cup, and shoe and ask questions such as “Which one do we eat, drink out of, or wear?” Do the same with pictures.
- Practice having your child follow a two-step command such as “Put the ball away and go get your truck.”
- Help your child to understand the concept of “one” and “two.” Ask your child to give you only one object out of several.
- Make a habit of counting things as you use them. Have your child imitate each number after you.
- As he approaches his third birthday, encourage your child to give his whole name. Write out his first and last name and show it to him. Do not expect him to be able to print it.
- Give your child the opportunity to understand “wh” questions. At this age, he should begin to answer “where,” “who,” and “What is the (person) doing?” questions. Provide an example such as “I know what Daddy is doing…..He’s watching T.V.
- When looking at books, ask your child questions such as “Where is the girl?”, “Who is that?”, or What is she doing?” Praise him