Speech and Language Milestones – 1 to 2 years

By Wellness Hub

Last Updated: October 28, 2023

A growing child is an everyday eye-feast. In their early years, children would surprise you from time to time with their little super ideas and interesting, wordy treasures. They will draw your attention with their understanding of the world around them. Their mismatched words mixed with newly invented vocabulary would, at times, leave us in splits. However, these speech and language milestones vary from child to child. Every child develops at his/her own pace.

12 months to 15 months:

After experimenting with different vocalizations all these months, your toddler tries to mimic the way you move your mouth and lips while uttering words. Crossing one year, here are the surprises your toddler holds that await your attention.

Mouthful Vocabulary

When your toddler is already one year of age, with the newly learned walk and mouthful of words, he will be throwing many surprises at you. Starting from simple words like “mama” and “dada”, they will start mimicking the words they hear from the environment around them. Be attentive to your language!

Imitating is learning

Children around this age try to imitate basic animal sounds and the everyday noises they hear. Parents and caregivers should encourage these imitations as toddlers learn through imitating. They remember many things associated with different sounds around them.

Understanding simple commands

Toddlers around 15 months of age typically comprehend and respond to simple and basic daily commands such as “come here,” “take this,” “give me,” or “go there.” Though they sometimes choose to respond, they mostly understand such simple commands. You can spot if your naughty little one is smiling, though not responding.

Receptive languageExpressive language
Appears to understand some new words each week.Attempts to obtain desired objectives by using voice in conjunction with pointing and gesturing.
Demonstrates understanding by carrying out verbal request to select and bring some familiar object from another roomConsistently uses seven or more words.
Recognizes and identifies many objects or pictures of objects when they are named.More frequent use of consonants like “T”, “D,” “W,” “N,” and “H.”
12-15 months

15 months to 18 months:

When your toddler is around this age, their speech and language skills start developing at a faster rate. The interest to learn and express would increase when parents appreciate their efforts at each stage.

Growing Vocabulary

Around 15 months of age, your child’s vocabulary starts growing rapidly. They try to learn the names of family members, familiar things, favorite objects and eatables, and also some of their body parts.

Mix and match

The toddler tries to combine words he/she learns. For instance, they may try word combinations like “more milk”, “big car,” or so. Of course, their unexpected combinations could amuse you!

Pointing to objects

When toddlers try to talk about some object or toy, they will point toward those objects to express themselves clearly. This helps them to build new vocabulary and to make the existing ones stronger through associative memory.

Receptive languageExpressive language
1. Most communication is now accomplished by using some true words along with gestures. 1. Most communication is now accomplished by using some true words along with gestures.
2. Begins using words rather than gestures to express wants and needs.2. Begins using words rather than gestures to express wants and needs.
3. Begins repeating words overheard in conversation.3. Begins repeating words overheard in conversation.
15-18 months

18 months to 24 months

The language structure and ideas of sentence construction developed around this age. The children experiment with their language skills. Inventing new words can also be a part of this wonderful growth.

Sentence formation

Children try to form sentences when they are around two years of age. Though these sentences may not be grammatically correct, they convey the meaning. The child’s work in this whole process, from learning new words, understanding their meaning, using them at the appropriate places, and forming sentences, can be a great surprise for the parents and caregivers.

Nouns and Pronouns

It sounds so funny to hear them use “I” and “you” and sometimes get confused between them. You can also observe them using their name instead of saying “I,” “me,” or “mine.” For instance, a child named John might say, “John’s ball,” “John’s bed,” or “John’s mom,” rather than “My ball” or “My bed.”

Question bank

You might be surprised at the number of questions they ask in a day. Most common questions will be like, “What is that?”, “Where is Mama?”, or “Where are you going?” Whenever they learn some new word, you would get a question from them. Say, for example, the toddler learns “mama” and then comes “your mama” or “my mama,” which is then followed by “Cat! Where is the cat’s mama?” It is surprising how they try to associate the words they learn.

Identifying body parts

Around two years of age, children would identify the body parts. It is good to name their body parts while giving a bath. For example, you can say. “Give me your hand,” “Blow your nose,” or “Wash your feet.” With such an approach, they have a basic understanding of their body functions.

Receptive languageExpressive language
Recognizes and identifies almost all common objects and pictures of common objects when they are named.Has a speaking vocabulary of at least 10 – 20 words at around 18 months
Demonstrates understanding of action words (verb forms) such as “sit down,” “come here,” “stop that,” etc. Begins combining words into simple sentences (like “go bye-bye,” “daddy come”) at around 20 months
Demonstrates understanding of distinctions in personal pronouns such as “give it to her,” “give it to me,” etc.Occasionally uses 3-word sentences (such as “there it is,” “play with blocks,” etc.) by 24 months.
Follows a series of 2 or 3 very simple but related commands. Understanding of most complex sentences for Example when we go to the stores I will buy you an ice cream.Refers to self by using his or her own name. Begins using some pronouns but makes errors in syntax.
18-24 months

Around 24 months of age

By the time the child reaches 24 months of age, you will see an explosion of language and improved articulation. Many Indian parents try to teach Sanskrit slokas at this age, which fosters the articulation ability in children.

Rapid vocabulary growth

There occurs a rapid growth in their vocabulary than before. By the age of 2 years, a child will be able to learn around 50 to 300 words. Their ability to pick up new words so quickly would surprise you!

Clear speech

The clarity in pronunciation and speech becomes so profound that even strangers can easily understand most of what they talk. Their articulation keeps on improving.

Emotions are clearly expressed

Children by two years of age can express their emotional state clearly, whether they are happy, sad, or angry.


These children can be good storytellers. As their expressions get clearer, they can now narrate an incident or tell a story with expressions. This is a crucial step towards their narrative skills.

Tips to encourage their speech and language development

Your toddler’s speech and language skills can be encouraged and improved by some tips and techniques.

Read it aloud:

Whenever you have a chance, try to read the newspaper or an article aloud. This exposes children to a variety of words and sentence structures, fostering language development. They would also know how to break a sentence before reading the next one.

Engage them:

 It is highly essential to engage your child through active conversations. Though the child might not express clearly or may just babble, it is important to have these little conversations as it encourages them to express.

Expand on their words:

Encouraging the child to speak more will happen when they feel involved. So, it is necessary to expand the words to sentences. For example, if your child says, “Ball,” you can say, “Yes! That is a big yellow ball”.

Be patient:

It is highly important to have patience when you expect the results. As speech development varies among children of the same age group, it is important to encourage and be patient as they grow and learn.

Restrict the screen time:

It is a highly essential part to be kept in mind. If the screen time of a child increases, the necessity for the child to speak decreases. Because of this, children limit their interest in expression, reducing their interest in learning new words and using them. Hence, minimizing the screen time is very important.

Lastly, it has to be remembered that these speech and language milestones can vary among children. If you ever have any concerns, it is helpful to consult a pediatrician or a speech and language pathologist (or speech therapist) to gain some valuable insights and support. Wellness Hub has a group of speech therapists who are empathetic and experienced. They prepare the therapy plans according to the child’s needs and implement them in a goal-oriented process.

Online speech therapy for children can be a beneficial resource in this regard. Through interactive and engaging sessions, children can receive targeted support for their speech development from the comfort of their homes. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that every child is unique, and speech development may vary. If there are concerns or questions about a child’s

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