Get Your Toddler Talking
Every toddler is different when she begins to speak. Some children (often girls) start using words at around 12 to15 months. For others (more often boys), it might not happen until 18 to 20 months.
What's important is to keep a running monologue going with your child even if he doesn't talk back to you yet. The more he hears language, the more he picks up. That's why reading is essential to getting your child talking. Read to him on a daily basis and together point out colors, animals, and characters, says pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D., co-author of "Toddler 411."
Toddlers understand much more language than what they actually say at this age. The average 1-year-old says at least one word besides "mama" and "dada." The average 18-month-old should speak at least five words. What you should see, regardless of how many words your toddler says, is the ability for him to indicate his needs to you by pointing, grunting, or demonstrating.
His ability to turn to you when you call his name is also an important indicator of comprehension. And, hopefully, he'll follow simple directions like "Come here" or "Please put the toy away" -- when he's in the mood.