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Two-year-old's language skills---is this 'normal'?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So I've been doing a lot of reading on the toddler forums/GD forums and I happened to notice that a lot of 20 month old+ toddlers are using full sentences. My daughter (turned two last friday) talks a lot, but will only use one word at a time. She'll say 'train!' 'water!' 'balloon!' 'mama!' etc etc, the only time I've heard her say more than one word at a time was when she was talking about my sister and her kids and said all their names in a row 'Heidi-kairo-pen!' Other than that, it's all one word. Is this normal? Should I be concerned? Is there anything I can do to help her start using fuller sentences?

post #2 of 9

I think by age 2, they "should" be talking in 2-3 word sentences, but if she has a lot of words I personally would not be concerned yet.

post #3 of 9

yeah.. our 20 month old will sometimes say things like NO MAMA or whatever but not consistently.  i think as long as there is a good vocabulary (which sounds like there is) and an attempt to communicate, it will happen soon.  you could encourage her to ask for more peas or whatever, if she can name something, she can prefix it with the word more, and that's usually the first sentence people get.  i wouldn't worry, though.  and i am not sure coaxing her to say sentences is the thing.. more like you model the simple strings she can say (like YOU say "more apple" and she'll eventually try)

post #4 of 9
First, here's some language development info: http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/two/language.html

Second,there's a wide variety, and it's normal both to have a lot of language, and to just have individual words at that age. I have had one child who spoke complex complete sentences at 20 months, and one who was just using individual words. They're both fine - kids learn things in different orders, like one child might be learning language, while another might be concentrating on physical development at that time. You can google about when to worry about language delays, but I think you'll find your child is on track.
post #5 of 9

My son was like your DD at age 2.  He knew names for objects and the only sentences he would say were "more please" and "up please".  His language skills really bloomed between last year and this year.  Now it's possible to have conversations with him.  He also likes to repeat everything.  We read a lot to him so that's probably helped.

post #6 of 9

My son was like that at age 2. Now that he's 26 months he uses 2-3 word sentences consistently. It just happened over the last few weeks. We didn't do much different except that as I had more time to spend with him, we sang and read more together. I am also trying harder to converse with him.

post #7 of 9

I agree with pps.  My ds is 22 months and just the other day used his first two-word combo (bubble, bath!).  I'm not counting "uppease" because he's been saying that for months, but I don't think he realizes that "up" and "please" are two different words. ; )  In the last few days he has used one or two other two-word combos.


The range of normal is wide.  At 19-20 months I wrote down all the words my dd said for 2 or 3 days.  I looked at it when ds was that age and tried to do the same with him (funny how I couldn't really keep up with it -- 2 kids is so much busier than 1!).  He didn't have nearly as many words as she did at the same age.  I have heard and read that boys are more likely to develop speech a little later than girls.


I think your lo is on track, just pay attention.  And as a pp said, even though he uses one word, when you repeat him to let him know that you understood you can use a sentence.  For example, when my ds says, "apple," I say, "you'd like an apple please?" and he often says, "apple please" after to confirm the request.

post #8 of 9

Perfectly normal! Speaking in sentences at 20 months is somewhat advanced. Single words are very typical, and if she's got a lot of them, she'll be starting to combine them soon. Kids have different styles of learning. Our son started with single words, our daughter with sentences (you sort of got the intonation and the words got more distinct as time went on).


Talk to her like you normally would. Treat what she says as interesting. There's not much you can do to speed up this developmental timetable.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for all the responses! She does say more than 50+ words and learns new words every day. I also noticed that she said monkey on the bed, which sounded more like "monkeyonBED!" so I'm not worried anymore. I will definitely start reading with her more often and repeat what she says with a full sentence to try and help her along. :)

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