25 answers

How to Get a 2 Year Old to Use His Words

my 2 year 3month old son is lagging in speech, he will say basic words, momma, dada, ball, sis, doggie etc. and is putting 2-3 words together like "no mama". he will not try to use many other words. we have tried with holding items like cookies and certain toys if he does not use his words but this created a power struggle and he refused to speak even more. we would say "say cookie" two or three times he would look at us say no and walk away. we have tried giving rewards for using words. we limit tv, we read and play daily. he is able to pick out his shapes, some colors, letters and numbers. he refuses to talk and this is killing us. any advice?

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So What Happened?™

We had our speech evaluation. the speech pathologist reported he is actually right on target. she "graded" his motor skills at a 4-6 year old and said that toddlers who are way above on motor skills often lack verbal skills due to their focus. she said she is not concerned because his understanding and memory is excellent. she gave us some more helpful hints on increasing speech. He should grow out of this. Yeah!!!

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You need to take him to Columbus Speech adn Hearing Center. They have a program he could most likely get into. Anyhow there are a tons of games to play with children to get the mouths awake etc. They really can help you but a few examples are have him suck pudding through straw. They have them brush thier teeth, sides of the mouth, roof of the mouth. It all wakes up the nerves in the mouth. At least go for testing and then a speech pathologist can help you with ideas.

You said the key thing that it becomes a power struggle. Do not try to force him to do things that he does not want to do. That only makes him resist even more. I would not be so worried at this point. He is only a little over 2. Now if he was 4 then I would be a bit moe concerned.
Remember all kids develo at different times. When he feels like it, he will start talking. Its going to be so much, that you will sometimes wish that he couldn't talk as much. :) I hope that this helps.

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You said the key thing that it becomes a power struggle. Do not try to force him to do things that he does not want to do. That only makes him resist even more. I would not be so worried at this point. He is only a little over 2. Now if he was 4 then I would be a bit moe concerned.
Remember all kids develo at different times. When he feels like it, he will start talking. Its going to be so much, that you will sometimes wish that he couldn't talk as much. :) I hope that this helps.

Don't stress over this my daughter did the same thing at her two year check up I think she had maybe 7-8 words in her vocabulary she would not repeate anything you asked her to say and she had absolutly no two word sentences (like no mom). I was really stressed because I was trying not to compare her to other children but she was way behind two little boys that are only weeks older than her. My peditrician told me I could take her and get her speech and hearing checked just to reassure myself but she didn't think there was a problem. I ended up taking her two different days one for her hearing then one for her speach, the speach therapist told me that she was delayed with a couple of things and would benifit with some therapy but I never took her it was very expensive.

She is now 2 1/2 and she never stops talking I have to say it was probably only a couple of months after taking her to the doctors that she began picking things up. Sometimes I think kids just need to do things at there own pace, continue telling him the words but don't force him if he doesn't want to say it because from personal experience it just upsets the child and you. Give him some time I am sure he will begin to
talk more.

MY son had the same issue. He understood everything, he was even pottytrained at 18 month, just not verbal. His doctor made me take him to get his hearing checked, it was perfect. Then all of a sudden around 2 1/2 he just started with full sentences. He will be 3 in Jan. and never shuts up! I wouldn't worry about it yet. My mom said my brother didn't talk until he was 4 and he ended up a valadictorian of his class. Your son is fine.

You need to take him to Columbus Speech adn Hearing Center. They have a program he could most likely get into. Anyhow there are a tons of games to play with children to get the mouths awake etc. They really can help you but a few examples are have him suck pudding through straw. They have them brush thier teeth, sides of the mouth, roof of the mouth. It all wakes up the nerves in the mouth. At least go for testing and then a speech pathologist can help you with ideas.

My advice is to back off a little. Continue to encourage the use of words by setting a good example, like using lots of words especially in sentence form with him. But don't let it be a power struggle. He is only 2 years old and he probably is feeling anxious about the pressure it sounds like you are putting on him. If you're offering him a cookie, model what you want him to say like "Mommy, may I have a cookie", maybe make it funny, then you respond and let him have it. Make a big deal, but I wouldn't use rewards, especially treats like candy or cookies, for talking. Applaud and cheer when he tries and relax when he doesn't. Believe me, in a year (at most) you'll be wishing for these days when he wouldn't talk! (My son is 4 1/2 :-) It sounds like he is pretty well on track so as to not be concerned about delays. According to "What to Expect: The Toddler Years" at 27 months it says they should be able to use 50+ single words and combine words. It sounds like he is doing that so just keep encouraging and avoid the power struggle. Greatest parenting advice I have heard/can give (especially true for toddlers) is "Pick your battles".

Be patient. I know how frustrating it may seem. Does he use a pacifer? My daughter did. She would talk with it in her mouth but never with it out. It was so hard to understand her. Well, she will be 3 in four months and now she is a jabber jaw. It may take some time for him to want to use his words. Like coming out of the shell. All things take time and soon your son will be talking so muc, you'll ask yourself why you wanted him to use his words.

Ok so this may sound weird but my son will be 2 in dec. and I knew that he knew alot of words but wouldn't say them either. So what I have done and it seems to work is, when he wants something or is pointing I will say the word and ask him to say it.. ie: if he points to a movie or a toy I will say the toys name like superman and then ask him where is superman? you need to call him and then he says it.. then after a couple of times with that he says it on his own.. it's weird but it works for me.. we used it with names too where is grandma call her and he says her name. hope this helps :)

H.,
Since it is a power struggle, remove the stress. Talk to your son, play with other little kids who chatter, respond when he does talk, but stop saying things like, "say cookie."
Just let him be, and he will soon gain more words. Also, shows like Sesame Street and Blues Clues "talk" to the audience so I suggest letting him watch those, since they are educational.
Best wishes,
K.

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