Communication Development: By 18 Months

Communication Development: By 18 Months

Here is some information about how children's communication skills usually develop by the age of 18 months. Below are some activity suggestions to encourage communication from 18 months. Use the language that you are most familiar and comfortable with.


By 18 months, what should my child be able to say and do?


Is starting to use more than 20 common words, such as "milk", "daddy" and "more".


Understands simple phrases, such as "where's your drink" and "shoes on".

Can give a toy to an adult on request.

Repeats actions to make someone laugh.

Is starting to turn pages in books and to point at pictures.

What are some tips for encouraging my child's development from 18 months?

  • spend time looking at picture books and photos and talking about what you see
  • sing and do the actions for action songs and waiata
  • talk about what you see when you are out and about; for example, shopping, in the car, on the marae

If you would like to look at anything in more detail, this list of references might be a good starting point.


The content on this page has been produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and adapted from Much more than words | Manuka takoto, kawea ake (2014).

This page last reviewed 08 December 2023.

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