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At age two years, your child should:

  • Combine words in 2-3 word sentences such as "Me do it"
  • Name common pictures in a book
  • Follow simple directions such as "Put Pooh Bear in the rocking chair"
  • Have around a 300-word expressive vocabulary
  • Use "no" in a phrase such as "No, mommy"
  • Ask for drink, food
  • Ask "What's this?" and "Where's my?"
  • Listen to simple stories with pictures
  • Form some plurals by adding "s"; block, blocks
  • Identify common body parts on request
  • Stay with one activity for six to seven minutes
  • Distinguish prepositions "in" and "under"
  • Distinguish between "one" and "many"

At age two years, your child may:

  • Say "no" when he or she means "yes"
  • Begin to express feelings and attitudes
  • Improvise her or her own syntax: "Look me no"

You can stimulate the speech and language development of your two-year old by:

  • Being a good speech model
  • Repeating new words over and over
  • Asking many simple questions and letting your child tell you the answer
  • Listening attentively as your child talks to you
  • Talking about what you are doing, being careful to make no assumptions that your child knows all the words you use
  • Reading books every day as part of your routine
  • Expanding what your child says; if he or she says "more cookie," you say, "Jamie wants more cookies."
  • Providing social activities that allow for your child to interact with peers
  • Praising your child for his or her efforts when communicating to you about something he or she has done

Some specific activities are:

  • Expose your child to different surroundings and the vocabulary that would be used in them. When you go on a walk, go shopping, plant a garden or clean the house, use vocabulary words to describe what is going on in each instance.
  • Begin to talk to your child about new situations before they happen and while they are happening; then describe what happened when you are done.
  • Have your child deliver simple messages for you. For example, you might ask your child to get an older brother for you, thus: "James, Mommy needs you."
  • Help your child to listen and follow a sequence of instructions by playing games: "Pick up your book and then touch Mommy's nose." If your child always gets two instructions correct, then give him or her three at a time.

If you are concerned that your child may not be developing these skills as he or she should, you may seek the advice of a speech-language pathologist.