Make a list of words your toddler says.

How to Keep Track of Your Toddler's Vocabulary

by Stacy Zogheib

Every parent waits to hear their child’s first words. From “mama” and “dada” it will eventually move to, “Mom, can you drive me to the mall?” Once your child says his first word at 12 to 15 months, you might want to keep track of how many words are in his vocabulary. This gives you a record of your child’s speech development that can be useful if you have concerns later on or if your pediatrician wants to know how many words he uses.

Paper and Pen

Title a blank sheet of paper with your child’s name and the word “vocabulary.”

Post the sheet of paper on your refrigerator or another area of your home that you visit frequently.

Write down each word that you hear your child say, and the date you first heard him use it.

Write down new words during a quiet moment of the day or when you stop and reflect at the end of the day.

Bring the list along when you and your child visit the pediatrician.

Computer or Smartphone

Open a blank document on your computer or a note function on your smartphone.

Title the document with your child’s name and “vocabulary,” Put a shortcut on your desktop or home page.

Record new words and the date that your child first says them. You can record them throughout the day on your phone or during quieter moments when you are at the computer.

Print your list to take to the pediatrician if you are concerned about your child's speech.

Items you will need

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Computer or smartphone


  • By the time he is 2 or 3 years old, your toddler will likely have a vocabulary too large to count. He will be learning new words every day.


  • Consult your pediatrician or a speech-language pathologist if your child is not babbling by 12 months, using at least two words by 15 months or using two- to three-word sentences by 24 months.

About the Author

Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and developmental specialist with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images