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How Many Words Can a Two Year Old Say?

Hi! I was just wondering how many words a child around the age of two is able to say? My son is 20 months old and I just want to make sure he is on track (he doesn't say much). I know he understands everything. I am wondering if he just finds it easier to use other means of communicating (pointing). Also, have any moms out there had this problem only to find that they catch up when they are ready? He is my first and I try not to worry but it is hard!

What can I do next?

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My daughter will be 2 next week...they grow up so fast huh? :-) She has been talking forever it seems like...hasnt stopped once since she started! She has just started putting sentances together like "Daddy eat all food gone gone!".
I know my friends son doesnt speak as much as my daughter and they found out that he needed tubes in his ears. He would point and "whine" for whatever he needed/wanted. Now that he has had tubes put in he is like a new little boy! He now talks more and I know hears better...another plus no more ear infections!
Ya know though, all kids are different and go at their own pace. If he is in daycare or around other children that would pro help him speak more also :-)
Good Luck!

My daughter is a talkaholic, if she knows you. My youngest brother on the other hand, wouldn't speak in sentences more than five words until he was five. He understood things perfectly, but just preferred to have his own language until then. Some kids are just quieter than others.

My daughter, who is one of the brightest women I know was a slow tlker. I discovered, when I made her mad a few times that she could talk at about 18 months. She apparently didn't care to communicate. When she started there was no baby talk just straightforward speech. She was basically a quiet, super creative child. Don't worry ..my other child who was the chatter box didn't walk until he was about 2 years old. Then he ran.

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LOL, we hear what the "average" is and worry our child is below par when they don't do things when the "average" child does. My mom tells me she didn't start talking until she was THREE, but then it was in complete sentences. My son is 17 months and only started walking about a month ago. He also says a couple words, but nothing like "talking." Part of that is likely because he's the first child - later kids will pick it up quicker because they have someone at their level to observe, and they'll hear more conversation than your first child gets. I guess the main thing is to trust that moderate delays are nothing to be concerned about, because you know your child better than anyone else and will know if there is a serious problem. Generally they're noticeable.

This reminds me of a joke I heard when I was younger: A couple had a son who had never spoken. He was healthy and smart and was on-target developmentally in every other area, so ultimately they decided their son was mute and they just accepted that. One day at dinner, when he was about 8 years old, the boy said, "Please pass the salt." Astonished, the father asked, "You've been quiet all these years. Why is this the first time you've spoken?" "Well, up 'til now, everything was perfect."

Meaning kids will speak when they have a reason to, a reason all their own. :) Hang in there! I'm working at being patient too and not falling into the trap of thinking my child needs to be "average".

2 moms found this helpful

Our oldest son did not really truly talk until age 3. At age 2 he said just enough to be in the "normal" range...it wasn't much compared to so many of my friends' kids. About age 3 he started talking. A LOT. And he hasn't stopped since. :) My girls talked much earlier. Then we adopted a son. He is 21 months now and is just now beginning to talk. However, like you said, he understands everything we say to him. It happens, just a little slower for some. And I can promise you it is no indication of intelligence or future success if they talk earlier or not...

1 mom found this helpful

Your son should be talking like crazy by now. If you know he can hear you and understand everything you are saying then stop letting him point at things and make him say the words. My son started doing this and I would tell him to say the word and I would give him what he is asking for. Example: He would see a cookie and would point and grunt at it and I would tell him to say cookie and would give it to him. He learned real quick if he wanted something he better start talking and asking for it and not point and make noises. This is only if you know your son is hearing you just fine and understanding you with no problems.

1 mom found this helpful


My little boy is 21 months old and he doesn't speak much either. I think girls are faster in this area than boys, but that's just my opinion.

My son will say, "Momma, Da-da, bye-bye and ba-ba (bottle)" consistently, but won't say much else. On occasion he will mimic things he hears (one time he tried to say "love you."

When he makes a new sound or tries a new word, we give him lots of positive feedback and encouragement. We know he understands LOTS of words - so its only a matter of time.

It will happen and (probably) when you least expect it (in the middle of the grocery store at the top of his lungs!)


1 mom found this helpful

Hi! My son was a very late talker- really didn't start talking in sentences until he was 2 1/2- and we thought he would start when he was 2, but the birthday came and went, and still not much- He always wanted to make sound effects to vehicles and animals, but not as interested in talking. He is super active, always running and climbing and once he started doing those things after his 1st birthday- his language development just went on hold. But now he's almost 3 1/2 and he is a chatterbox. Talking non-stop all day long, and I remember wishing for those moments when he was little....and when he's super chatty all day long, I remember the moments before he started talking and how much I longed for him to start talking. My pediatrician just told me not to worry about it, (I started scanning the autism checklists and worry) but he was always connected to us emotionally and affectionate and smiling- but I would still worry that something was wrong. Just give him time- and talk to him about everything throughout the day- even if you feel like a narrator of your life... he will eventually start talking! I promise!

1 mom found this helpful

A typical 2-year-old has a vocabulary of about 50 words, although some have many more. Personally, my girls had much larger vocabulary and talked much more than my boy. My son is 4 and still doesn't talk as much as the girls, although he knows words, he is just a quieter child and that is his personality.

If you are really worried ask your pediatrician, there are many programs for early intervention and most are free. If he is developmentally behind, early intervention can get him on track.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a son and a godson that are 6 days apart and both turned 2 in Oct. My son has been speaking full sentences since about 21 months, but my godson was barely saying mama and dada at his first birthday. He knew a total of maybe 5 words. The difference is that my son has 2 older siblings to catch up to and my godson is the first baby. Well about a month ago(about 26 months old) my godson suddenly caught up to my son and is saying full sentences. Every kid learns at their own pace. I would say you shouldn't worry even a little bit about your lil one not saying much at 20 months. He'll get there. Just wait it out. Oh and don't use "baby talk" with him. Just talk to him like he's one of the adults in the house and he'll catch on. You're doing a good job mama!


1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,
Let me tell you my story. My first child, a son; even at age 3 was saying just a few things. His means of communications would be to point and make a grunting noise. If he wanted juice, milk etc. Well obviously I was concerned. On his 3rd birthday I took him to our family doctor. Our family doctor was very helpful in telling me that my son did this because I allowed it. He gave me a few places to take parenting classes to help me learn to teach him a different method. The classes were great. Instead of allowing my son to point and make grunting noises rather I taught him to say what he wanted, and I would not get it for him until he did. See my son was not mentally challenged. Just his mommy did EVERYTHING for him (being a first time mom, this happens) in as little as a few weeks, he was asking for things. I'm telling you the classes really taught me allot. I had another son 22 months after the birth of my first son. I used these same techniques with him and I promise he hasn't stopped talking, lol sometimes I wish he would. HOPE this helps. Good Luck!!

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