My 19-month-old son is an only child and doesn't go to daycare. He doesn't talk, just says mama and baba and not all the time - maybe one or two times a day. I try to talk with him but I don't know what I should talk about. When we are eating, I talk about food and I talk to him when he takes a shower. I tried to read to him before sleep but he just wants to play with the book and cut the paper. I need help. I'm so sad and worried about him.

1 Answer 1


Hi and welcome to Parenting SE! Many children do not start forming sentences until 18-24 months.LINK

If you have been to your doctor (and you should if you are concerned), then probably it is still early and there's time before there is anything to worry about.

Children develop at different rates. There are things you can do to encourage language.

  1. Baby sign language: Link Sign language takes the pressure off of speaking and believe it or not -- that helps speech!
  2. Talk to you child and identify everything. "Milk. Here is your milk." "Juice. Here is a glass/cup of juice." "Bear. Here is your toy bear."
  3. Be encouraging. "Yes! You said, 'Milk'!"
  4. Every activity is an opportunity for language. Spend time and notice what you do. Count items. "Here are crackers. 1-2-3. 3 crackers." "Bear is on the table. Where is Bear? Oh look Bear is here/under the table/in the box/on the floor." "You are wearing a blue shirt. Your jeans are blue, too." "This car is red. What colour is this car?" Try not to answer for your child. Allow your child to match, too. If the car is blue, your child can point to something else that is blue. If he does that, then you say, "Yes. Blue. The car IS blue. Good for you!"
  5. Sing. Sing every song you know. There are many artists that make music just for children. Teach your child the songs you know from your own childhood. Clap, keep the beat with a spoon on a pot, dance. All of these things encourage language and build your relationship with your child -- so it is a win/win.LINK

On Edit: I have been thinking about this and wanted to mention that many children without siblings have this same 'problem'. It is a combination of having no peers and that Mum and Dad, who are working so very hard to be the best parents they can be, often do too much for their child. They answer for him; they anticipate his needs. There is nothing wrong with encouraging your son to make a choice or even to ask for something he wants. "Do you want Bear or the car?" "Do you want juice or milk?" "Do you want this blue shirt, or that red one?" If he is about to eat, put the plate just a tiny bit too far away. When he indicates that he wants it, either he will speak a sound that allows you to say, "Yes, bread. Good for you!" Or he points and you say, "You want the bread. This is the bread. Here it is!" Modelling speech is a good way for him to learn.

Please let us know how it works for you. We are here for you to ask questions. I hope this helped.

  • Hi WRX, in the couple of years since you wrote this answer, the sign language link has somehow died. I just wanted to warn you in case you wanted to fix it up Apr 9, 2019 at 11:30

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