Communication and Your 1- to 2-Year-Old
Language development really takes off during this time, especially as your baby approaches the second birthday.
Kids this age can better able to comprehend what is said to them and express what they want. They take joy in their ability to understand more complex directions — and won't hesitate to give directions of their own.
How Babies Communicate
Most babies say their first words in the beginning of this period, though some start even sooner and others don't start until they're nearly 2 years old. A baby who is preoccupied with learning to walk may push talking to the back burner; it's not unusual and is nothing to be alarmed about.
Babies this age might have learned fragments of dozens of words that probably won't be recognizable yet. When they get around to talking, though, they'll probably progress quickly and soon be able to point at something familiar and say its name, and recognize names of familiar people, objects, and body parts.
By 2 years old, babies may use phrases and even two- to four-word sentences, although your doctor will only expect to hear that your child is putting two words together.
No matter when babies say their first words, it's a sure bet they already understanding much of what is said to them before that. Your child should be able to respond to commands (‘Roll the ball to Mommy’) and should be fully aware of the names of familiar objects and family members.
You might find yourself struggling with your toddler to do as you say, only to have him or her ignore you or scream in protest. Toddlers like testing limits and their degree of control. By 18 months, most have mastered saying ‘no’ with authority, and by age 2 may throw a tantrum when they're unwilling to do something. They'll also show signs of possessiveness — expect to hear ‘mine’ or see tears if something is taken away or you show attention to someone else.
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