Around their second birthday, your little one will understand most of what you say and their vocabulary will increase significantly, starting with fifty or more words. During this year, they’ll begin speaking in more complete sentences, made up of four to six words, but you’ll probably need to “translate” what they say to others due to immature pronunciation skills. With an increased vocabulary comes a better use of language to express ideas and desires –make sure to listen to them! An advance in language skills also brings on new discoveries because of the many “why,” “what”, and “how” questions your little one is now able to ask.
Although it is tempting, try to avoid comparing your child’s verbal abilities to other children of the same age. This is a time with great variation. For some children, language develops at a steady rate and for others it doesn’t. Some children are more talkative than others, but that doesn’t mean that they are smarter or have a richer vocabulary, it simply means that quieter children are more selective when speaking. These variations tend to even out around the time children start school.
If you’re worried about your child’s language development, talk to your pediatrician about it. They will first want to rule out any physical problems that might be delaying language acquisition, like fluid buildup in your little one’s ears, or trouble coordinating the mouth and throat muscles. One in every ten to fifteen children has trouble with speech or language comprehension. Early detection of a language delay or hearing problem is very important, so that it doesn’t hinder learning in other areas of development.
Help boost your child’s language skills by including reading time in your daily routine. This is also a great bonding activity, because you can cuddle up and share a book together. At this age, your little one will be able to follow a simple storyline and even remember parts of the story.