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18-24 Months

This is a guide to how children develop speech and language between 18 and 24 months.


At this stage, children try out new things and explore the world around them more actively. They will often choose their own activities and may not always like being told what to do.

Children develop skills at different rates, but by 2 years, usually children will:

  • Concentrate on activities for longer, like playing with a particular toy.
  • Sit and listen to simple stories with pictures.
  • Understand between 200 and 500 words.
  • Understand more simple questions and instructions. For example 'where is your shoe?' and 'show me your nose'.
  • Copy sounds and words a lot.
  • Use 50 or more single words. These will also become more recognisable to others.
  • Start to put short sentences together with 2-3 words, such as ‘more juice’ or ‘bye nanny’.
  • Enjoy pretend play with their toys, such as feeding dolly.
  • Use a limited number of sounds in their words – often these are p, b, t, d, m and w. Children will also often miss the ends off words at this stage. They can usually be understood about half of the time.

Progress Checker

Check the Progress of your child’s communication development using our Progress Checker for children at the following ages:

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