20 month old not talking

Amanda - posted on 01/20/2011 ( 8 moms have responded )




My daughter's 20 months old and while she does say a few words, she doesn't really talk or even try too. She still babbles all the time and I try to get her to say simple words but she won't. She'll point to what she wants or get it herself, even though I try to encourage her to ask for it instead. I don't know what to do to help my 20 month old who is not talking. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Toni - posted on 04/24/2012




my girl was the same - we did nothing about it except talk to her more and now at 23 months she has had a word explosion and we can't shut her up, give her time

Louise - posted on 01/20/2011




I think some of the things on Katherines list is for much older toddlers and not for a 20 month old. Just remember a toddler is a child under 4! At 20 months your child on average should be able to speak about 30 to 50 words clearly. I would not really worry to much about this at the moment. I trained in under 5's speech and language therapy and I would not see children under the age of 2 as children develop at different rates. What you could do to help is sing songs over and over again. The best ones are things like row row your boat and Humpty Dumpty as they have actions as well. My daughter loved row your boat the best and was singing the corus in a couple of weeks. Just remember that children learn by repetition and play so the more playing you do the quicker she will pick it up. You are doing the right thing by encouraging her to speak for herself and not to fetch things that she points to. If by 24 months there is no improvement then that would be the time to seek professional help. The first stop would be the doctors to have her ears checked for simple things like wax. Then ask to be referred to a speech therapist that will give you simple exercises for her to do to encourage speech. Really if she is babbling away then there is no need to worry about your 20 month old not talking she will speak when she is ready. So get singing!

Casey - posted on 02/09/2012




She'll speak when she's ready to. As long as she makes eye-contact and doesn't shy away from physical contact, don't worry. My daughter spoke a little bit until she was about 1 1/2, when I put her in Montessori school. I should mention that we live in Mexico, but speak English at home. After 2 weeks of school she quit speaking completely. I mean not a peep. After a month she started speaking again, only this time in fluent Spanish. Go figure. She's 3 1/2 now, and I still can't get her to say more than a few words in English, but she understands it perfectly. She has very solemnly explained to me that she just doesn't want to speak in English. lol.

Kaitlin - posted on 02/09/2012




I agree- Katherine's list is for much older toddlers.

20 months old is way to early to be worrying about that. Kids develop differently and most will start talking around age 2. Can she understand you? If you ask for her to get something does she know what you're talking about? If she understands and only has a few words, don't sweat it.

Neither of my kids spoke 'the right amount' of words, and then BAM started talking like mad. Gabriel didn't say anything until a few weeks ago and suddenly has words. Will had maybe 20 words and then went to full sentences and paragraphs around age 2, almost overnight.

Alecia - posted on 01/20/2011




if ur daughter has some words, can understand u and communicate then she is probably just fine. my daughter is 16 months and pretty much the same way, though i catch words and phrases in her babble and try to repeat them back so she understands she got it right. my husband didnt really talk until he was 4 and he is very smart and talks all the time now. lol i wouldn't worry about your 20 month old not talking.

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Susan - posted on 03/07/2012




I agree that all kids start talking at a different time and it is good that she has some words however I was worried about my daughter not talking very well at around 20-22 months as well. My son who was just 2 yrs. older seemed to be speaking complete sentences at that point. In my area there is an early intervention system that I was introduced to by a friend and was so glad I was. She did in fact have a speech delay and they also gave me some great information that I don't know if I would have found on my own or if my pediatrician would have discovered in their 15-20 minute appointment. My thought is, and I have been reminded by others, you are the parent and you know your child best, so if you think something is not right, trust your instincts :) One of the suggestions made to help with language is signing. Good luck :))

Katherine - posted on 01/20/2011




Most toddlers should be able to . . .

Take off clothes without help

Pretend to help toys; imitates, such as feeding a doll

Know when something is wrong

Run well

Some toddlers will probably be able to . . .

Say 20 to 50 words

Start to learn words, possible 5 or more per day

Enjoy helping with things around the house

Start setting small goals

Some toddlers could possibly be able to . . .

Show better signs of bladder control

Walk up and possible down stairs with some assistance

Start to learn up to 10 new words per day
So SOME toddlers are able to talk at this age, not all. Here is the link on milestones for 20mo's.

[deleted account]

She's probably okay. It's more important that she can understand you and communicate somehow, which she seems to be doing. Also, she may have some words in those babbles. There are certain things that my almost three year old will say that sounds like babbling. But I know exactly what she is saying in her own little language. She just hasn't figured out how to put all the sounds together correctly yet.

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