Frequently Asked Questions about Communication in Young Children 12 to 18 Months

I don't know what he is saying

My Child 'talks' all the time but his speech is so garbled that often I don't have any idea what he is trying to say. How do I keep my child's desire to speak alive when it's so hard to understand him?

Even though you may not always understand what your child is saying you are still his translator. Even when you don't understand him it is important to acknowledge his frustration by saying something like: 'I'm sorry, I don't understand. Can you show me?' Sometimes you might have to use your own words to express what your child might be feeling. For example, 'I'm sorry you bumped your head. That must really hurt.' When he gestures to obtain what is unreachable, use the words that he can't produce like 'I see you pointing at the glass. Would you like a drink?'