Babies (0-12 mos)


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Toddlers (Ages 1-3)


When Should a Child Start Talking?

Child, toddler blond boy, playing with fire trucks on the floor at home

When Should a Child Start Talking?

As parents, there is nothing more exciting than hearing our children say their first words. It is an incredible milestone, and it means that we can start communicating with our children while getting excited about what they might say next. All children will be relatively different when it comes to when they start speaking, with some saying words very early and others not getting there for several years. Today, we will learn about when your child will start talking and how you can help them along the way.

When Your Child Will Start Talking

2 year old talking to mom
Most toddlers will be saying several words by 18 months old.

©Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.com

There is no set month when every child starts speaking, and experts will provide different answers, but on average, most children will start saying their first words between 10 and 18 months of age. Your child may only say a handful of words for a few months after that point. However, most toddlers will be able to say around 20 words by 18 months and 50-100 words or more when they turn 2 years old.

Again, every child is different, and some may not start speaking at all until 2 years old, but even that is not a major cause for concern. Below we will talk about the general timeline of events between birth and when your child will start talking.

How Your Child Will Start Communicating

Your baby will start communicating in their own way relatively early into their life.

Age 3-4 Months

At this point, your baby will start to make eye contact with you. Then they will start making their cute baby sounds, like “goo goo” and “gaa gaa.” They may also start to babble and make noises that will sound like vowels and consonants.

Age 5-7 Months

By this age, most babies will start to copy many of the sounds that you make, like clicking and laughing. They will also copy many of your gestures, including clapping, pointing, and waving. You will also hear a wider variety of sounds.

Age 8-9 Months

Parents will hear a wider variety of noises at this point. Even more exciting is the fact they may say their first word. It will likely be “mama,” “dada,” or “no.” They won’t know what these words mean yet because they will really be repeating what they hear you say. However, it is a good start.

Age 10-11 Months

Most toddlers will be saying “mama” or “dada” by this point. They will also learn some nonverbal communication, like pointing at something that they want.

Age 12-18 Months

At some time between 12 and 18 months of age, your child should be able to name familiar objects that they see around the house.

It is at around this time that your baby may be able to point to different parts of their body and name them. 

You will also likely notice a difference in their listening skills. They will enjoy listening to songs and listening to you when you read them books. 

Age 18 Months

By the time they reach 18 months, many babies will be able to say at least 10 years. Sometimes a child will start talking and never stop. It is called a “word spurt,” and your child may suddenly be saying up to 50 words.

Age 24 Months

At this age, most toddlers will be able to refer to themselves by their own names. Many children are also able to put two words together, often in the form of a request or question. For example, they might say: “dada car?”

Late Bloomers

Although we mention the general timeline above, most toddlers will likely start talking at one year old. However, surveys show that 25% of kids won’t be able to say any words by the time of their first birthday. On top of that, many children are unable to say their first words until 18 months, and a few won’t speak until beyond that time. 

Typically, “da da” is easier for babies to say, so you might hear that first. Mothers should not be offended. Next will likely be “ma ma.” Many kids also say “no” first because it is a simple word that is easy to say.

How To Help Your Child Learn Their Words

mom and toddler
Reading books with your child is a great way to teach them more words.

©iStock.com/Yana Tikhonova

If you are getting closer to their first year, and your toddler is not showing any signs that they may begin speaking, then you can try to help them along with these tips:

Read to Your Child

If you want your child to start talking, then you should talk around them wherever you can. You can start when you read to them throughout the day. Point out the objects that you see in their books so your toddler can learn what each word means.

Vocalize Everything You Do

The more words you say, the better. When you are with your toddler, you should essentially narrate your life. Say things like, “we are going outside to walk to the mailbox” or “I am giving you carrots for lunch, and I am putting them on your plate.” The more they hear words, the more likely they are to catch on. 

Sing Songs

You can make learning their words fun by singing songs and reciting nursery rhymes throughout the day. 

Point Out Body Parts

Since many children will start to say words that correspond to their body parts, try to point to your body parts, like arms and legs, and say their names. Make a game out of it.

Speak Slowly

It helps to talk to your kids whenever you can, but if you speak too quickly, then it may be hard for your kids to grasp. While you don’t want to dumb it down too much, you might want to try saying your words a little slower so your toddler might start to understand.

Eliminate the Pacifier

If your child is still using a pacifier as they approach 18 months of age, then it might be hampering their ability to speak. Wean them off of the pacifier, and you may see improvement. 

Praise Them

When your toddler does start to say words, offer praise when you hear them. Clap and get excited when they use words, and they are more likely to keep saying them.

Plan Play Dates

Your child should be interacting with other kids at this age and if you know a child that is the same age but speaks more, then consider planning a play date. This is a chance for them to interact with each other. Your child may absorb the information easier if it is coming from someone their age.

Warning Signs To Consider 

As your child gets closer to 18 months of age, and you find that they are still not talking or making any progress, then you may want to consider these red flags. If they don’t progress soon, then you may want to contact the pediatrician or a speech therapist.

Red flags include:

  • Your child does not understand even simple words like “no” and “bye bye.”
  • If they are past 18 months, your child can’t identify at least one body part.
  • A toddler should be able to say at least one word by the time they are 15 months old. If they don’t, then reach out for assistance.
  • By 21 months old, your child should understand simple commands like “come here.” If they don’t respond, then talk to your pediatrician. 
  • At 2 years old, your toddler should be saying at least a few words. If they are still babbling all of the time, then that is a red flag.


Yes, it is an exciting milestone when your toddler starts to speak. Your child will start talking at around one year old, and once they start, they will never stop, so cherish this time. Consider the advice discussed here today, and you will have a chatty kid in no time.

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