How many words is your 18 month old saying?

Michelle - posted on 08/12/2010 ( 86 moms have responded )

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I didn't have any concerns until I took my son to the ENT due to multiple ear infections. The nurse and the doctor made it sound like they were concerned because he was not saying more words. He's currently saying about 15-20 words but understands more than what he says, imitates, repeats and follows one step directions. I believe he's developing age-appropriately but was wondering what other average 18 year olds are doing.
Thx,
MM

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Jennifer - posted on 08/18/2010

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My son just turned 18 months and he has about 10 words in total so far. I am not concerned at all, every child is different in their development and it is something that shouldn't be rushed. They will feel like they are doing something wrong or something is wrong with them if you are concerned about it. Let them be kids, we all grow up to talk someday

Elizabeth - posted on 08/18/2010

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Wow - reading these comments is making me feel so much better, my 18-mo old little boy says just a handful of barely recognizable words (mama, dada, hi) everything else is dah, or bah, or something like baby babbling. His motor skills are fab though, he climbs, he jumps, he runs, he opens and closes doors, etc. etc. I have been very worried about the verbal stuff though because my twin boys were speaking in complete sentences by the time they were his age. I think they must have wanted to talk to eachother or something. I don't know but it's nice to know there are plenty of other little boys with approximately the same speech level. I won't worry so much now - he certainly understands plenty and follows directions, points, etc.

It is so very true that every child develops differently and those differences can be very widespread.

Sarah - posted on 08/18/2010

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I have no idea how many. It's a LOT. He knows lots of words in both Spanish and English. It seems like he is adding new words to his vocabulary everyday, and he still signs some words. The kid talks a LOT. lol But he still yammers non-words sometimes too. "Abba dabba di ba dabba do" type stuff. He knows body parts and fruits and vegetables, animals, and shapes, some numbers, some colors, some letters, lots of vehicles and other objects. Plus 'please' and mama, dada, gram, pawpaw, nana, etc. Who really counts that number of words?

Carla - posted on 08/18/2010

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I wouldnt worry. My now 12 year old didnt say a word till she was 2. Now, she is just like every other smart mouthed pre teen. :) Just give it a little more time. Sometimes dr.s try to rush things. If you feel the child progressing well, just wait a while if the dr. still has concerns later, then check into it.

Dawn - posted on 08/18/2010

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I really liked what Melissa Kirkner said:
"If your child understands what you say to him and he's demonstrating other forms of communication like pointing, making other sounds, leading you to the kitchen when he's thirsty, etc then I think you're fine."

Elizabeth - posted on 08/18/2010

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my son doesnt say very many words but he tires to repeat what is said we have been working on it he still doesnt say mommy yet it is always daddy kitty doggie etc.

Kari - posted on 08/18/2010

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My daughter still is not saying any words. She does babble and completely understands everything we say. She recently underwent surgery to insert grommets so we are hoping that that is the answer and that she will start speaking soon.

Michelle - posted on 08/18/2010

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After reading most of the replies I do feel better now. I was a bit concerned since my little one only says mom, dad and her latest word is bye. I've noticed that she gets excited and wants to talk around other kids. Guess, she will speak when its her time. She has developed very fast physically and does understand everything we tell her. She can identify body parts etc.

Claire - posted on 08/18/2010

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Hi my 18mth says mum and ju (for juice) and thats it but she to understands alot more and if i say to do something or get something she knows what Im on about x

Sherrie - posted on 08/17/2010

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I totally agree about the siblings!My daughter is 18 mos.and an only child at home, and bi-lingul in Spanish and says probably 10 spanish words we can decipher and about30+ American words.She's always been ahead of the game but OMG persistance is the name , even if she seems bored with books we sit down every day fo at least 15 mins and read and sound out like Bird goes tweet-twet ect.She's doing awesome and i was worried to death because of teaching her Spanish thought that would confuse her but it doesn't! I would Read ,Read and read more. It sounds hard or time consuming but it's a major thing in developement of talking skills i was told and the T>V> if he watches it , learning channels HE seems to like helped my daughter because (she is an only child my others are older and gone from home), it hurts because she needs that activity with kids her own age, thinking of putting her in nursery school 1 day a week.Well hope it helps hun!Good luck!,Sher

Lisa - posted on 08/17/2010

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my 18th month old doesn't talk much either mostly yellng or screaming, he says da da and mum, and few other like ball and what sound like nana and papa and sometimes we will get doggie but not very much at all, and his pedritian is sending him for a hearing and speech test which i wasn't too happy about because i know he will talk when he is ready although latley he is starting to use his vocals more and it should be coming any time, he has ways of letting us know what he wants mostly by pointing or if we are giving him something and he wants more he just yells at us lol, but all kids are different i just wish the doctors would see it that way,he don't say by he waves, and blows kisses, he maybe says about 10 words and i am not too concerned we talk to him and play with him and he understands us hes just taking a little longer to catch on to saying the words,, and someone told me boys take longer then girls which i believe because my niece was talking up a storm by the time she about 14 months maybe earlier.

Alexandra - posted on 08/17/2010

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My 18 month old can say about 20-30 words I'm guessing. Last month I counted and it was about 17. He can say phrases like go bed (go to bed), what that (what's that) and I am sure there are more but I don't always count them or write them down. One day he may say something and I'll never hear it again. He understands much ,ore than he can say so be careful to watch your language around those little cuties. They'll start repeating you at the worst moments. Take care and don't stress.

Tracy - posted on 08/17/2010

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oh yep my daughter understands wat i say to like wheres ur bottle an she goes an gets it an she knows eyes , ears , mouth , nose feet , ect. she points to them when i say wheres ur nose an ect. just slow with the talking she hasnt been to her 18 month check up but i will see wat the nurse says aswel good luck an your welcome an thankyou too least now i know that i am not the only mum concerned with my 18 month olds talking. :)

Carly - posted on 08/17/2010

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Thanks for posting this, I was worried about my son's speech development too. He says about 10 words but understands A LOT. He follows complex commands (get daddy's shoes and put them in the closet, etc) and can point out body parts, animals, characters..... but he still is babbling and shouting a lot. I think it's because he is at home with my MIL during the day and doesn't have a lot of exposure to other kids or social situations. He gets whatever he wants right away, where as he would probably have to ASK for it in a daycare setting or when playing with other kids. We go for our 18 mo. checkup in a week so we'll see what the dr says. But thanks for sharing guys!

Tracy - posted on 08/17/2010

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hello my baby girl talisha is 18 months old an she dont say much at all so im a little concerned as well as shes my second child my first was saying alot of works at 18 months but talisha can only say a few like mum dad nana and there but thats it i thought she should be saying more but she just might be a bit slower then her sister i read books to both my girls.if she still cant say much in a few months time i will then get it checked out every child is different they learn at different paces but if your child still isnt talking in a few months time then i would get it checked out if i was you..

Melissa - posted on 08/17/2010

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My 18 month old is the youngest of my three boys. He says about 10-12 words but babbles all day long (even in his sleep). If your child understands what you say to him and he's demonstrating other forms of communication like pointing, making other sounds, leading you to the kitchen when he's thirsty, etc then I think you're fine. My oldest son started talking at 8 months old and never stopped from there. I think he had a vocabulary of a hundred words by the time he was two. My second son hardly said a word until he was 18 months to two years old (but he started reading at 4 years old so we knew he didn't have a learning challenge). Children learn and demonstrate their skills at different rates. Your baby may not be much of a talker yet, but I am willing to bet there are other things he excells at that some other children who may be big talkers aren't doing yet. It's a process. No worries. :)

Kristy - posted on 08/17/2010

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my 18 mo talks a lot and puts sentences together...she does have 3 much older siblings so i think that makes a difference.

Jenny - posted on 08/17/2010

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When I took my daughter to the doc for her 18 month appointment i was asked to fill out a progress sheet by answering questions. One of those questions was "Does your child say 5 to 8 words in addition to Mama and Dada?" FIVE to EIGHT! I believe you son is on track. Since seeing the ENT have you talked with your pediatrician? Knowing that he understands other words and can follow simple directions is just as important. I wouldn't be too concerned but talk to your baby's doctor if you want more reassurance.
Now, to answer your question, my daughter says over 100 words. Some she only uses occasionally, others are everyday words. We been using American Sign Language with her since she was born and I attribute that to her spoken vocabulary. She's been able to communicate her wants and needs since she was 9 months old using sign. She can say every word that she knows the sign for plus others. A couple of her first words were caterpillar, vegetable, butterfly and broccoli -- all at 13 months.
We found Signing Time DVDs at the library and they are tons of fun. The signs are shown by the host whose daughter is deaf and then children demonstrate the sign. They are then grouped into songs to help with retention. My daughter loves the music and watching the kids and babies. We started her with Baby Signing Time.

Sarah - posted on 08/16/2010

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he is funny when he goes into his blabbering jibber jabber talk lol yuo just hv to kind of talk with him to let him know u understand even thou u cant lol. but he sometimes grabs out cellphone or remote n use it like a ph and goes yes, yeah ee ya, by, bebbe (baby), Barbara Ann as in the song by the beach boys he can kind of sing barba barba nnn lol...

Sarah - posted on 08/16/2010

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My son, 18 months n 2 weeks old he is starting to put his two wordered words together like whats this and whats that, says your normal things like Dad, dadda, mum, mummy, cat, Welf (which should be Ralph) my cats name, Tactor (tractor) Gee out (Get Out) Gee own (Get Down) Orse which is horse. He cant quite get the correct wording but its clear what he is trying to say. He goes into his funny jibber jabber baby talk as well cant n don't understand what he is saying lol but it is cute! I do think he is a little slow on his words but they do talk when they are ready!

Teresa - posted on 08/16/2010

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There are these set of norms that doctors go by and they scare us mums by saying that our children are not reaching these normal stages when they should. If you have concerns, by all means go to all lengths you can to make yourself feel better and get advice on what to do from the professionals but in the end our kids will talk when they are ready. But again if you think your child may be one of those few who really does have an issue get it looked into. My son at 18 months says very little, as did his sister, and we read books everyday, chat about what we are doing, go to play groups and all of that. My daughter now five, didn't talk much until she was about 2 and then suddenly sprung a verbal leak and didn't stop. Enjoy them before they talk back and start saying the dreaded - NO!!!

Dawn - posted on 08/15/2010

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I also wanted to say that recently my son has made an advance in his babbling....he is stringing together long "sentences" but I can't understand but 2 words...usually ends with "Mumma" or "Daddee". He will sometimes look right at me too and I hope I am making a good attempt at acting like I know whats going on!!

Melissa - posted on 08/15/2010

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My son is 18 months in 3 days.. He doesn't say too many words, But does understand everything we say and tell him..
He's always showing signs of going potty like a big boy which totaly amazes me since we didn't potty train my 1st till he was like 3 years old.
So I'd have to agree with everyone... Each child developes differently and I wouldn't be too worried..

Melissa - posted on 08/15/2010

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My 18-month-old doesn't talk either. He can sort of say "mama," but that's only when he's upset and wants something. But I'm not too concerned: he laughs and cries at the appropriate times, he understands everyone, and he really has a sense of humor. My 3-yr-old is a chatterbox: super advanced vocab, speaking in Hebrew with no formal training. I'm guessing that my younger one just isn't ready to talk...and doesn't get an opportunity with big brother around!

Kim - posted on 08/15/2010

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my daughter has just started saying sentences the last 2 weeks,she says- where is it,whats that,wheres it gone,i did it,dog,mum,dad,see ya,ta,here,lys(her sisters name which is alyssa) and oh no!

Tricia - posted on 08/14/2010

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I have the same problem! I'm not too concerned though. The doctor is which is why she recommended him to get checked out. Which we did. Everything is fine with him, except his language skills, i guess. He is at the rate of a 2yr old as far as everything else goes. So he now has a teacher that comes twice a week for 45 mins, that tries different ways of getting him to make noises and mimic sounds. So far so good! Within 2 weeks he finally said "doggy" and "ball" =) ... but I personally think he will talk on his own terms.

Katherine - posted on 08/13/2010

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My son only says Mom Duck and Up. He also understands everything we say and nods or shakes. He is normally a high energy loud kid but when he says one of his words or tries to mimick one of ours he whispers. It's almost like he is shy and scared of saying it wrong. Waiting to get it perfect. I take him for his 18 month appointment soon so we'll see what the doc says. I try not to worry about it.

Dawn - posted on 08/13/2010

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My son does not have a strong vocabulary at this time, but has always been ahead of the game physically. I have been counting his words that he HAS said over the last months because it seems to me that he will get into one word and use it all the time (for a while it was "Dog", then "Bird", now "Ball"). His word count is around 20 but never more than 1-2 at a time. He is also very independent and will NOT repeat words for me...although he picks up words so I know he can! Try and relax and maybe just go see what they say. Good luck!

Tanya - posted on 08/13/2010

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My 2nd son is 18 months old at the end of this month. He is attempting to say words but only says, ball and goal. He nods and shakes his head yes or no. He understands everything we say to him or direct him to do. He imitates everything and shows interest in everything normally. My first one spoke much more than this one at this age.

Katie - posted on 08/13/2010

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My son seems to be doing pretty well; I was expecting him to be slower at language development because we are raising him bilingual (English, German), but he loves talking (lots of babble) and has several words now, and is able to use both versions of most of them. I'd say he knows the words for about forty things in either English, German or both, and he understands much much more in both languages. He's very proud of his vocabulary, and everytime he encounters something he knows the word for, he practices/reenforces it by pointing and saying the word, looking at me or my husband for confirmation (we always praise him for his words, and usually say something along the lines of "yes, dog, that's a dog! what sound does a dog make?" He often repeats words that we say, and we always encourage him and try to give him context to whatever word he picked out. I really think that reading to him as much as we do has also been helpful. Encouragement and exposure to language/words have been the pillars of our approach, and my son's persistent efforts have been a deciding factor as well.

A couple of moms have pointed out that their child is ahead in one domain but behind in another because each child develops differently, and that is absolutely true. There is so much to learn and so many aspects to development; I think each child prioritizes their "to-do list" differently. My child could pull himself up to standing at 5 months (before he could crawl!), but couldn't walk on his own until 15 months. On the other hand, he was using his first word at about a year old, and is talking up a storm compared to a little friend of his of the same age who is also bi-lingual.
If the doctors and experts say your child is behind in language development, that doesn't mean your child is substandard, and maybe they'll have tips to help you help your child. I'm sure he/she will eventually be fluent, no matter how quickly that happens. Maybe it's just farther down the "to do list."

Oana - posted on 08/13/2010

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Maria says only mama and dada and nothing else, just baby bable and is not interested in repeating or being shown anything. I sometime worry and plan on taking her to the Health Visitor but then I calm down and remember that she is ahead of her age group in physical development. She extremely independent and intellingent but just wants to do things in her own time. So, today I'm not worried ;)

Alysha - posted on 08/13/2010

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mine says maybe 5 words, but understands a lot. I'm not worried because she shows so much intelligence in her actions and is just too busy to talk right now.

Spring - posted on 08/13/2010

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he says maybe 3 words and like i said earlier when he say bye bye it dont sound nothng like it. I am very concerned with this.

Sarah - posted on 08/13/2010

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I wouldn't worry too much - children are all so different and develop at their own pace. My daughter (nearly 18 months) is really great with language, she can say over 70 words in context, and is sometimes putting a couple of words together like "bye-bye daddy". On the other hand she has been slow with her physical development, and was quite a late walker.



I can only guess she is good with language because I have read many, many books to her. We visit the local library every week. She also has a decent sized collection of her own books that we read frequently - she loves it!! It is all about repetition, I point at pictures and say what it is, and now she can do the same. Also we did a 10 week course called Rhyme Time (it runs for free in Australian librarys) where a group of mums and bubs sit in a circle and sing nursery rhymes and do all the actions. Studies show that singing songs and doing the actions really helps reinforce language development. Maybe there is something like this in your area?

Spring - posted on 08/12/2010

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My doctor said something simular to me. My 18 month old doesnt talk pretty much at all. He screams. The doctor said it was because he dont use his words. He can say mama and that is about it. When he says bye bye it sounds nothing like it but he tries. She said that i need to take him to a place called the progress center where they are going to evaluate him futher. I am concerned as well. Any ideas for me. It sounds like you little one is doing great me me. I woundnt worry about it.

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