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Language Development Milestones: 1-2 Years

It is an exciting time for any parent to see their little one start to understand what is being said to them and to hear their vocabulary grow!

The following highlights key language developmental milestones by age:

At around 12 months, your child may:

  • Speak approximately 1-3 recognisable words, and understand around 10 words
  • Understand the names of things around them, e.g. cup, toe, hat, mum, dad
  • Respond to their name
  • Use hands gestures to complement what they are trying to say e.g. waving bye-bye

Around 18 months, as they continue to develop they may:

  • Speak around 20 recognisable words , and understand up to 50 words
  • Start to have ‘conversations’ with themselves and others
  • Follow simple one-step instructions, such as ‘get your teddy’ or ‘throw the ball’
  • Begin to refer to themselves by their name
  • Start to name body parts

By the age of about 24 months, your child may:

  • Say around 50 recognisable words , and can understand many more
  • Communicate what they want through words, e.g. milk or ball
  • Combine words together, e.g. ‘more milk’,
  • Stumble over words when they are excited
  • Follow more complex instructions which have two steps, such as, ‘Please get your shoes and bring them to Mummy’
  • Start to express how they feel through their words
  • Sing along with familiar songs, such as ‘Happy Birthday’ or nursery rhymes.

Each child will grow and develop differently so it is important not to compare your little one to others. If you are concerned about your child’s development seek advice from your healthcare professional.


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