5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Toddler’s Vocabulary

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I never thought about how many words were in a toddler’s vocabulary. I knew my daughter Faith had a lot of words, and talked a lot but, I didn’t think about her vocabulary as extensive for her age.  But, as she started to talk more and more out in public, we got more and more compliments on how well she talks.  Faith is a bright girl with an extensive toddler vocabulary.  After receiving a compliment on how well she speaks, I remember checking lists for child development milestones to see where Faith stood.

My favorite go to site is babycenter.com where they stated an 18-month old child should have 10 to 20 words. I remember reading that and saying. Hmmm. Faith has way more words than that after all she was speaking in 2 and 3 word sentences.  So I took out a pen and paper and wrote a list of the words that she could.  The list was over 100 words.  Here is a video of her around 17months old saying her ABC’s and counting.

Education is extremely important to us, and we know that a child Faith’s age learns through play and repetition.  We did not set out to have such a chatty toddler, but we do.  Here are some of the ways we helped her to develop:


  • TALK.  This is probably the most important tip. We talked to Faith all the time in our normal voice.  Even before she could talk we would have conversations with her.  Of course, we did the cooing and baby talk, too, but we made a point to include her in conversations from the beginning.

  • READ. We read to Faith, and let her “read” back to us.  Faith’s favorite book is Llama Llama Red Pajama by, Anna Dewdney.  She can recite the book almost word for word.  Reading is a great bonding activity to do with your child during bed time.  I did not realize until I became a parent how expensive some children’s books are.

Do not let the cost be a deterrent.  Get a membership to the library in your town.  It is free, and they often have other activities that you may be interested in.  I also signed Faith up for the Imagination Library.  It is program where children 0-5 receive a free book each month.  There is no income limit, so anyone can sign up.  Check their website here to see if the program is available in your area.

  • SIGN LANGUAGE. We started teaching Faith sign language before she was one.  I always thought it was such a neat idea to teach your child to sign to help with communication.  I am here to tell you…it works.  Neither Faith’s dad nor I know sign language (other than the alphabet).  So, we looked up some videos on YouTube aimed to teaching babies sign language.  We let her watch the videos, which were just a few minutes long, while we were doing diaper changes.  We learned the signs right along with her.  Before you knew it she could sign milk, water, more, eat, sorry, thank you, and hurt just to name a few.  She was able to communicate with us even before she was able to talk!

The sign language really came in handy when she was thirsty or hungry.  She could sign eat, milk, or water and we would know that was what she wanted. I am convinced that this cut down on a lot of frustration and crying. If you follow this bog at all, you know Faith has Hirschsprung’s Disease, and as a result, her stomach hurts sometimes.  Learning to sign “hurt” really helped her communicate if she wasn’t feeling well or something was wrong with her ostomy.

  • SINGING. My husband loves to sing. He sings to Faith all the time and always had, since she was in the womb. Faith loves it and sings along too.  He also makes up silly songs to make her laugh.Although, these are some of the things that we have done to help increase Faith’s vocabulary, Faith got it honest.  Both her dad and I LOVE to talk.  So, I think she was destined to have the gift of gab.


  •  USE FLASH CARDS. We got simple ABC flashcards for Faith.  We would show her just a couple of letters and words at one time, maybe 3-4.  She soon was able to start recognizing and verbalizing the pictures and the letters.  This should be a fun and stress-free activity.  We usually only did if for about 5 or 10 minutes at a time.  Just as long as it held her attention.  Although, these are some of the things that we have done to help increase Faith’s vocabulary, Faith got it honest.  Both her dad and I LOVE to talk.  So, I think she was destined to have the gift of gab.

I know it is difficult not to compare your child with others (I know I am guilty of it) but every child learns at their own pace.  You can do a quick check on developmental websites to see if your child is on target.  But most importantly, if you have any questions or concerns talk to your child’s physician about your concerns.  What other activities do you do to encourage your child to talk?

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