2 - 3 years language development
At this age, your toddler's language is developing quickly and so now you’ll begin to understand how your toddler sees the world. With a wider vocabulary, he’ll really be able to communicate with you and this is a very exciting development. While sometimes his sentences will be jumbled, he’ll be keen to talk to you if he feels that he’s making himself understood.
Be positive in your communications with him and try to offer simple explanations as you guide his behaviour rather than using negative statements such as ‘no’, ‘don’t’ ‘stop’.
Developmental milestones include:
By 2 ½ years:
- he can understand a lot more than he can say
- he will attempt to use over 100 words, but as he cannot produce all the sounds needed to pronounce words, many of them will be unclear
- he talks while he plays
- he relies more heavily on words, rather than gestures, to communicate
By 3 years:
- he can follow multi-step instructions
- he can be understood by strangers most of the time when he talks
- he asks many questions in order to understand his world
- he listens to stories, and will have favourites that need reading regularly
- he enjoys imaginative play and often has a running commentary as he plays
What can I do to encourage his language development?
- Give him one-on-one time whenever you can
- Read aloud with him and talk together about the pictures – what’s happening, what does he think is going to happen
- Hold conversations with your child and show him that you’re interested by asking him questions. Repeat what he says, so that he can learn correct pronunciation but avoid the temptation of asking him to repeat himself – he’ll only get upset and frustrated
- Sing with him and make music together with basic musical instruments – drums, tambourine, Maracas
Signs that suggest a developmental problem in a 2-3 year old:
- he isn't using words to communicate his needs
- he isn’t talking clearly enough to be understood by his primary caregiver part of the time
All children are different and develop at different rates, so don’t be overly concerned if your toddler is acquiring new skills at a different rate to those around him. But if you are worried about his development or it seems to have stalled or be going backwards, talk to a health professional.
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