My 13-month-old can say dada, hi and bye bye. How can I teach him to say more words?


Just after their first birthday, most children have a vocabulary of 3-4 words, but it is important to remember that every child is different. Research shows that one of the best ways to help children learn new words is to narrate your daily activities. Describe what you are doing as you go about your chores and activities. Point to and label everyday objects and actions. Doing so will not only expose your son to new vocabulary, it teaches him that words are used to communicate needs, ideas and desires. Reading to your son will also expand his vocabulary. Look for books with eye-catching illustrations, and ask him to find and point to things in the pictures. Lastly, singing songs with actions such as “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” is a fun way to expose him to new words. 

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

Submit a question for our learning experts.