Language Skills: 1 year old

Long before your child utters his first word, he's learning to talk. In fact, the average 1-year-old can say only six words. But, surprisingly, he understands close to 70. Most of those words are objects or familiar expressions. Keep in mind that boys tend to acquire language skills at a slower rate than girls do.

His first words likely will refer to familiar people, favorite possessions and parts of the body. As his vocabulary increases, he'll begin to add action verbs such as "come" and "go" as well as directives such as "up" and "down."

Between 12 and 18 months your child will accrue new words slowly -- perhaps four to six a month. He may continue to use these new words regularly, or drop them as he moves on to new ones. But just because he hasn't used a word regularly, doesn't mean it has been forgotten.

For some kids, 50 words is a benchmark. After hitting this number, he may experience a vocabulary explosion picking up new terms faster than you can track them.

Sometime before his second birthday -- or shortly thereafter -- your child may surprise you by pairing two words together such as "mommy up," "more milk" or "big toy." Often this doesn't happen until after your child has acquired at least 50 single words.

Even if your child's language skills are well developed, don't expect strangers to understand him. Most children of this age make the minimum sound needed to label a person or object. It will be several years before they develop the mouth coordination necessary for proper pronunciations.


More skills and milestones:

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