My daughter is 15 months old. The only words she seems to know are "Mama" and "Ya" (Yes). She seems to be growing up much more quickly than her older sister did, crawling and walking at earlier ages. But my first daughter was much more verbal than this one.
I know she can say different words. I have heard her call the cat by its name, and she screams 'Molly' every time she sees the Big Comfy Couch. But she does not seem to feel a need to use any other words. How can I encourage her to talk?
It sounds as if your daughter is focusing on physical skills. It is not unusual for children to pause in their speech development as they learn to walk. And you are correct--she might not feel the need to use many words. Second children tend to get less one-on-one interaction with a parent, and busy mothers of two might tend to anticipate their needs rather than converse about them.
Try to make some time just for your toddler, without big sister. You can play, read, do housework, or have lunch--and talk with her about what is going on. You can encourage her to use words by repeating what she does say with appreciation, letting her know that she is understood. You can offer her choices with your eyes diverted ('busy' with something else) so that she has to do more than point. You can sing songs together. Help your daughter to see herself as a communication partner in her own right.
Ruth Alice Jurey, M.S.