You asked

My child is very physical but quiet. Is this a possible developmental problem?

During the baby and toddler years, and in particular during the period of time that your child is 18 to 24 months old, it’s not uncommon for you to notice that your child is very physical, but not all that interested in language skills. You may notice the odd word or two, but for the most part, your child is probably focused on developing gross motor skills, by running, jumping, climbing or even attempting to ride a tricycle.

At that age, it’s not a problem, and since all children develop differently, you may notice this to a greater or lesser degree.

As your child reaches two to three years old, however, there should be a marked difference in development, with more focus shifting to speech and language. At this age, even if your child does not initiate conversations much, he or she should be able to respond verbally to questions you answer. This will start out with single word responses, and later your child should be able to answer you with short sentences.

Make sure that you encourage this linguistic ability, even if your child is more physically focused, as some children are, by incorporating language into his or her day. Spend time naming objects when you take a walk, or speak about activities you are doing.

If your child seems to avoid speaking most of the time, does not respond to questions with answers – even short ones – or seems too quiet, speak to your paediatrician.

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