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9 Questions Pediatricians should be asking Parents at 12-24 Months

1. Does your toddler understand simple directions, especially with visual or vocal cues? This is a skill for ages 12-15 months. A red flag would be a child who does not respond to their parents’ voices or to their name, or who does not follow directions.

2. Does your toddler use one or more words with meaning (e.g., “mama”, “dada”, “bye-bye”, etc.)? Expect 3-5 words by 15 months of age. Be aware of a child not having a single word by 16 months of age, using only vowels, or not having imitative skills.

3. Does your toddler say more words each month with a vocabulary of mainly nouns? Expect 5-20 words by 18 months, 25-50 words by 21 months, and 150-300 words by 24 months.

4. Does your toddler point to a few body parts when named? This is a skill for ages 18-21 months, but may give insight into understanding simple questions.

5. Does your toddler listen to simple stories, songs and rhymes? For ages 18-21 months, this can be a predictor of attention and listening skills.

6. Does your toddler point to pictures in a book when named? For ages 18-21 months, this can be a predictor of attention and understanding of language.

7. Does your toddler use many different consonant sounds at the beginnings of words? A limited variety of consonants or distortions of vowels between 18-24 months of age are red flags.

8. Does your toddler put 2 words together (e.g. “no juice”, “more cookie”, “Mommy book”, etc.)? At 21-24 months of age, a red flag is limited one-word utterances. By this age, the child’s vocabulary should be big enough for word combinations.

9. Does your toddler use some 1-2 word questions (e.g., “What’s that?”, “Daddy?”, “Bye-bye?”, etc.)? A red flag is not asking or answering simple questions by 21-24 months of age.

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