Speech and Language Traits of the 2-Year-Old

Your child’s speech and language development depends on his or her ability to hear. A hearing loss can interrupt or delay the ability to communicate. All children, even newborns and young babies, can have their hearing tested. If you suspect a hearing problem, ask your doctor to refer your child to an audiologist. Seek prompt medical treatment if you suspect your child may have an ear infection.

At 2 years old, your child will...

  • understand simple questions and commands
  • identify body parts
  • carry on "conversation" with self and dolls
  • ask "what’s this?," what’s that?" and "where’s my _______ ?"
  • compose sentences two or three words in length
  • refer to self by name
  • use two-word negative phrases such as "not go," "not right," "no want"
  • form some plurals by adding "s," such as book/books
  • have about 300 words in his or her vocabulary
  • ask for drink, toilet food
  • listen to stories with pictures

You can stimulate the 2-year-old child’s speech by...

  • reading books with simple colorful pictures
  • being a good speech model
  • repeating new words many
  • helping your child listen and follow instructions by playing games: "pick up the ball," "touch Mommy’s nose"
  • talking about what you are doing
  • playing records
  • listening to your child when he or she is talking; never say, "I don’t understand you"
  • praising the child for telling you some of the things he or she is doing and for the child’s efforts to say things
  • taking the child on trips and talking about what you see
  • carrying on a conversation with the child
  • asking the child a question to stimulate additional thought and language

Provided for you by the Speech & Hearing Board of the Baptist Health Care Foundation and United Way Agency.