As your baby’s first birthday approached, she may have said her first word and for you, it was a magical moment. Now that your baby has turned into a 14-month-old toddler, you might be wondering how many words she should be saying.
Though a child’s vocabulary is limited at age 14 months, your toddler is rapidly discovering new words every day. It is common for children in this age group to understand a good deal more words than they can actually say.
A 14-month old will typically have about the same vocabulary level as a 12-month-old, though a toddler of this age will most likely understand many more words than they can speak.
What The Experts Say
“By the time your baby is a year old, he or she is probably saying between one to three words,” says Dr. Anna Kaplan. “They will be simple, and not complete words, but you will know what they mean. They may say “ma-ma” or “da-da,” or try a name for a sibling, pet, or toy. If they aren’t doing this at 12 months, you should not be worried, as long as they are producing a lot of sounds, seem like they are trying to speak, and seem to understand you.”
Kimberly Scanlon, a speech therapist and author of My Toddler Talks, says that humans are naturally wired for verbal communication.
“Your child should go from having about one to a few words at a year old to between 200 and 300 words at two,” she shares.
That’s quite impressive!
One-year-old children rapidly absorb language as their communication skills change from grunting and pointing to learning how to utilize single and simple combinations of words.
It is at this age that babies try diligently to make their parents understand what they want. They will often do this through pointing or bringing objects for explanation. My daughter, who is precisely 14 months old and says several words, will bring me books, point at objects and hand me her cup if she wants more water.
Manipulating and pointing at objects are tools a tot uses to communicate.
According to PBS Parents’ Child Development Tracker:
- At 12 months, a baby can understand 50 words? At 15 months, this goes up to 120
- A toddler will acquire one word every other day between the ages of 12 and 15 months
- It is easier for kids to learn words when adults name objects that are nearby or that are being held. Between 14 and 15 months, toddlers start to point to objects that are further away in order to get adults to name them.
When To Be Concerned
What if your child isn’t doing any of these things yet? Should you be worried about speech delays or other developmental problems?
Contact your pediatrician if you notice these red flags:
- Your child is not babbling or speaking in mock sentences at the age of one, or does not seem to understand or respond to you when you talk
- Your child has not said at least one word by the age of 18 months of age
Studies have shown that late talkers do tend to catch up and that about one in four children is a late talker with a speech delay. Ideally, children should be able to say one word at age one and start using two-word combinations from 18 months to two years of age.
What is important is that a child shows understanding. If your child can make gestures and follow directions, this is an indication that your child is capable of understanding and communicating and is on the right path to normal language development.
To encourage your child to talk, ASHA suggests the following:
- Talk while doing things and going places, point out familiar objects
- Use simple but grammatical speech your child can imitate easily
- Introduce phonics sounds as you walk around the house, for example pointing out that a clock makes a sound like “t-t-t-t.”
- Expand on words your child says. For example, if your toddler says “car,” you can applaud and add on “red car” as a description
- Read to your child every day. Try to find books that feature large pictures and simple phrases or sentences. Point out what is in the pictures on each page and ask your child to do the same. Eventually, your little one will speak the picture’s name!