The best way to encourage your child to talk is to include  them in everything you do and see together. Speak directly to your child. Repeat words and explain things. Let them match what you say to what they can see, what you’re doing, to your facial expression. Avoid the use of dummies as they can delay speech development. If English is not your first language just use the language you know best. Children can learn to speak in two languages at once, more easily than adults.

By 18 months – usually:

  • has vocabulary of approximately 5-20 words
  • vocabulary made up chiefly of nouns
  • repeats a word or phrase over and over
  • is able to follow simple commands

By 2 Years – usually:

  •  can name a number of objects common to their surroundings
  • can combine words into a short sentence – largely noun and verb combinations
  • approximately 2/3 of what your child says should be intelligible
  • has a vocabulary of approximately 150-300 words
  • rhythm and fluency often poor
  • volume and pitch of voice not yet well-controlled
  • can use two pronouns correctly: I, me, you, although me and I are often confused
  • responds to such commands as “show me your eyes (nose, mouth, hair)”

Support your toddler by talking to them. Talk about colours – ‘Where’s a red car?’ Count together 1, 2, 3, etc (especially if it can be related to real life – while supermarket shopping.)

If you are worried that your child is not talking as early or as well as other children, particularly if they are not talking at all by two and- a-half years, it’s worth checking that they can hear properly. Ask your health professional for a hearing test. If your child cannot be clearly understood by the age of three years, they may be referred to a speech therapist for help before they start school.