Your Toddler's Growing Vocabulary

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on February 22, 2022
3 min read

By 22 months, your child has become a little chatterbox! They're learning about one new word a day. They may even put two words together, such as "Mommy, come," "Let's go," or "All done."

Their constantly expanding vocabulary of words and phrases is letting them engage in real conversations. Sometimes it seems like they will never stop talking!

Though you may not understand everything your toddler says, nod and smile along to encourage them. Offer helpful suggestions when they stumble or has trouble finding the right word. You'll help their language skills grow even more.

As you move through your day, tell them what's coming up. They understand you better than they can talk, and setting their expectations may help avoid a meltdown.

Other ways to improve your child's speech:

  • Read to them and encourage them to recite back lines from the book.
  • Use flash cards and memory games to reinforce words.
  • Watch your language. Any bad words you say can -- and will -- eventually come out of your child's mouth. And who knows who they'll say it to?
  • Be a sportscaster. Describe what your baby is doing while they're doing it to help them learn the words.

Your Toddler's Development This Month

Colors, movement, faces -- when you're a toddler, there's so much to see in the world! Now that your child's vision has gotten so much sharper, they can spot every bright, beautiful detail.

Give your toddler a variety of sights to study. Let them look at colorful picture books, paintings, flowers, and people's faces. Be very descriptive in your conversations with your little one. Talk about size, shapes, and color of objects.

Your pediatrician will check your child's vision and pay attention to any eye crossing, lazy eye, or head tilts that may signal a problem.

In the meantime, keep an eye on your toddler's eyesight. Call the doctor if you notice that your child:

  • Can't focus on or follow an object
  • Can't see people in the distance
  • Rubs their eyes a lot
  • Has red, irritated, or teary eyes
  • Makes unusual eye movements
  • By age 2, your child should know at least 50 words and at least half of them should be understandable to a stranger. If they are having trouble forming words, call the doctor.
  • To help keep them healthy, make sure your child washes their hands often. Help them remember to do this after they sneeze, plays with animals, or, if they do, go to the bathroom.
  • Sometimes parents need a break, but make sure you prepare your child. Find a sitter they like who will keep them on their normal daily routine.
  • Hand-me-downs are fine for clothes, but with toys, newer is better. Older toys may not meet current safety standards, and they could break.
  • You're never too old to be silly. Make faces and goofy noises -- your child will love it!
  • Take a nature walk. Explore bugs, flowers, and trees with your child. You'll both get exercise, fresh air, and a great adventure.
  • To help avoid temper tantrums, give your child some choices. For instance, let them choose which books to read with you. And try to stick to your established routines.