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How Many Words Should My 2-Year-Old Be Saying?

Somewhere around the beginning of the second year (typically between 18 and 24 months) most children experience a language explosion! Your child should start forming short 2-3 word sentences and have a vocabulary of about 50 words.

Throughout the second year most parents notice a continued gradual increase in language ability. By the end of age two your child should use 150-300 different words!

How can I help my child learn new words and speak clearly?

  • Talk with your child as you go about your daily routines. Ask questions and point out and name new objects in your surroundings.
  • Read to your child daily and talk about what you see in the book.
  • Sing songs and do ‘finger-play’ activities together.
  • Use less baby talk and introduce new words by speaking them slowly and clearly.
  • Do not copy your child’s incorrect speech. Use the proper pronunciations when you speak and your child will learn by imitating you.
  • Refrain from correcting or making fun of your child. Children learn best by example not ridicule.
  • Do not assume that your child will build an extensive vocabulary from watching children’s television. Although there are many good programs for toddlers, there is NO substitute for engaging your child in conversation.

What should I do if I think my child is lagging behind?

  • By the end of the second year you should be able to understand about 2/3 of what your child says.
  • Be patient and keep in mind that not all children follow a typical developmental pattern. Usually boys have a harder time mastering speech than do girls, but most often they will catch up!
  • If you feel your child is not learning in the way you expect, please talk with your pediatrician and/or call Alabama’s Early Intervention System for further assessment at 1-334-242-8114.
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