Q: How can I get my 15 month old to talk more? He only says maybe 5 words and they are not very clear, I'm worried he's behind and I've done everything the magazines say by talking to him during the day and reading to him and using flash cards with pictures. Is there anything else I can do or am I just overreacting?
A: One easy way to reduce your stress as a parent is to learn what normal developmental milestones are. Often, we compare our kids to others on the playground or playgroup and then become concerned. According to the Denver Developmental Checklist, a milestone tracker that most pediatricians use, we expect a 15 month old to have 3 vocabulary words besides mama and dada. An 18 month old should say about 5-6 words that are understandable to his parents (and likely no one else). Then from 18-21 months, the light turns on and children start to pick up a new word every day. By age 2, they have 50-200 words that they can say. Bottom line: your toddler is normal. Keep reading to him and point out vocabulary words when you are reading books, or shopping, or he is pointing and grunting to ask for something. Those are great teaching moments.