How to Get My Two Year Old to Talk More

Updated on June 26, 2008
M.M. asks from Lilburn, GA
9 answers

Hello all. My two year old still enjoys baby talk and says very few actual words. He seems to be in his own little world sometims. He likes to put things in order and definitely seems to understand what me and his dad are saying to him. I know I need to read to him more and I have made him some flashcards. Any advice?


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answers from Charlottesville on

I side on the cautious side with communication in toddlers now. This is due to the fact that my first child spoke in clear, precise sentences at 18 mos. My second child only had 4 words at the same time. Most everyone was brushing me off saying there was nothing to be concerned about. Each child develops at their own pace. There is such a wide range of normal.

There are Early Interventions Services available in every state. They have different names, but they all do basically the same thing. Most states are funded through the 'No Child Left Behind Act'. Trying to get kids ready for Kindergarten before they get there and have potentially bigger problems.

Milestones 12 to 18 Months:
* Experiences a burst of language development
* Comprehends approx. 50 words

Milestones 18 - 24 Months
* Talks, making 3-4 word sentences
* Points and identifies objects by request
* Follows simple instructions
* Points to pictures in books when asked

The review process and testing for services is free. They will test Cognitive, Communication, Social-Emotional, Adaptive/Self Help, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Hearing, Vision, and Health.

My gut was telling me not to have the wait and see attitude. Especially since the evaluation is free. What harm would it do to see if there was an underlying problem. She passed all of the tests except for communication. She qualified for Special Instruction / Speech Services. We had a teacher come to the house every week and then twice a month to work specifically with her in developing her speech skills.

She aged out of Early Intervention at 3 and then went into the Public School System for Speech Therapy. She is almost 4 and I am so glad I found the services for her. We moved out-of-state during the middle of her services so I have info for both MD and VA.

Infant and Toddlers Program

Infant and Toddler Connection



answers from Washington DC on

One thing is that when you talk to him and ask him questions, make sure that they are not needing Yes/No answers. I was constantly reminding my DH of this when our older child was learning to talk.

Ask open-end questions that require him to use more words to answer it. Try and get him involved in playing word games in the car or asking him to describe what he sees out the window - make a game out of it, they love to correct you when they 'find' that you are wrong, so you start off by saying something 'wrong' and let him tell you the 'right' thing. There are lots of things like this you can do - use all that time we spend sitting in the car productively. = )

If you're going to the store together, and you are going to get him something, then use the car ride to discuss what he'd like to get (colors/flavors/etc.) or let him suggest some things to add to the grocery list. (My daughter loves those yogurt smoothies at the grocery store, I get her one when she behaves while we're there for a shopping trip.)

Just some ideas - if he's motivated, he'll talk. If you ask for complete sentences from him when he requests something from you, he'll also talk = ) Don't worry, soon you'll be asking us how to make him be quiet! (sorry, no solution here = )

Good Luck!



answers from Washington DC on

Please have your son evaluated by a professional in child development. It may just be that he's a late talker or it could be something that warrants a little more attention. All children develop at their own pace, but obviously his lack of speech concerns you. He's still very young, so if a problem is found, there's time to correct it or at least get your son the help he needs. Be proactive! God bless!



answers from Washington DC on

My son has been in the Montgomery County Infants and Toddler's Program since 13 months and has now transitioned out of it since he is turning 3 next month. Everything I have gotten from the Infants and Toddler's Program and Developmental Pediatricians states that on average children talk in sentences using the amount of words they are in age. So for 2 years old, they would speak in 2 words sentences, 3 years old would speak in 3 word sentences and so on. There is always a range, though, and some 2 year olds can speak in complete sentences while others are still using 1-2 words. If you have a concern about your child's speech, the best thing to do is get him evaluated by Early Intervention Services.



answers from Washington DC on

Flash cards is not the way to get him to talk, but talking to him and having him look at your lips and repeat you is how I had all 3 of my children learn to talk. My children all and inner ear problems and this is what a speach pathologist taught me to do and it worked great. They are now 13,9 and 2 1/2 years old and yes my littlest one never shuts up so sometime i think why did i get him started so young when i use to be able to sleep at 10 and now he chattering away telling me everything i already know. So if he wants a cup or drink then show it to him and have him say it with you, if he don't then keep trying and after doing this for a couple of weeks he will catch on. I also told my children no baby talk now your a big boy and you can use your word so say it with me don't cry... and when they attempted i praised them.
Well good luck



answers from Washington DC on

That's so funny, usually parents want their kids to talk less!! = ) My girlfriend's daughter didn't actually get out of the "baby" talk until she was 5. The only advice I have would be to talk to your son in full completel sentences (Do you want a cookie? instead of - cookie?). Good luck!

K. SAHM of 2 boys, 5 and 2



answers from Washington DC on

I would recommend that you call the Infant/Toddler program in your county. At the least, they will talk to you and disuage your concerns. If they think there is a need for services, a teacher or speech pathologist will come out to your home and work with you and your child. You may also choose to talk to your pediatrician who may recommend the same thing!

Use the website below to find contact info for your local infant/toddler program:



answers from Washington DC on

Hi M.,

All children develop at a different pace and we live in an incredibly ambitious society with lots of expectations on children (and parents!). Unless you suspect that there is a developmental delay, I wouldnt sweat it. Einstein didnt speak until 3 so early speech is not a indicator of increased intellegence.

I dont deny, though, the advantages of having a child who can communicate effectively and early. My son spoke early and Im sure MANY temper tantrums were averted because of this.

I think if you are speaking with him a lot and reading to him then he will be fine. What you can do to facilitate his speech is to verbalize his 'baby talk'. For example if he says "Dada" and points to his father doing something you can say "thats right. Daddy is cooking". If he reaches up and says "upy", you can say "Oh you want to be picked up!". As his speech becomes more sophisticated so should yours. For example if he begins to point at a car and says "car". THen you can say "Yes that is a blue car" and so on.

Good luck. Once they start talking, they seemingle never stop!



answers from Washington DC on

I'm glad you have brought this up. My son was just at the doctors I highly recommend talking to them about the infant and toddler program. They come your home and evaluate the child and then tell you what they think. My son dosen't seapk that much either. We did the baby talk too. So my question is going to be Is teaching sign really hurting the ability to explor with his voice. I stopped all sign when he was 16 months and he has picked up more words recently. I'm thinking he was trying to get the sign more than getting the word. I caint wait for our visit with the specialist. The doctor did say boys are a little slower. But he rather send a child that dosen't need it than miss the child that dose. So basically it's better to be safe than sorry