How to Increase the Vocabulary of a 2 Year Old: 5 Steps
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Reading books introduces your child to new vocabulary words.

When your 2-year-old communicates through a series of two-word sentences, hand gestures and grunts, it's hard not to make comparisons with the 2-year-old next door who never shuts up. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, typical 2-year-olds have a vocabulary of 50 or more words, and large differences in communication skills at this age are perfectly normal. Still, there are steps you can take to boost your little one's word count.


  1. 1
    Read books to your child to introduce new vocabulary words. After all, you're not going to come across a dragon or an alien in real life. Choose books that interest your child, especially ones that are interactive, such as lift-the-flap books.
  2. 2
    Talk to your child throughout the day. The more words he hears from you, the more his vocabulary will increase. You might feel silly at first, but constantly narrating what you're doing helps him learn the words that are most relevant to his life.
  3. 3
    Use specific language whenever you can. That's not a bird, it's a blue jay. Those aren't dogs, they're collies. That's not wine, that's "mommy juice." Children might initially use these words incorrectly, such as thinking that "collies" is another word for "dogs" rather than the specific type of dog, but you can playfully correct him.
  4. 4
    Help your child describe things. There's a lot going on in his little brain that he's anxious to let you know, but he doesn't always have the words he needs. You're going to have to sit through a lot of ums and ahs before he can spit it out. If he's struggling, though, don't be afraid to offer some suggestions.
  5. 5
    Correct vocabulary or grammar mistakes with questions. The rules of the English language aren't always straightforward, and it's hard for a 2-year-old to get it right. Constant correction, though, can make him afraid to try. When you use questions instead, you're simply modeling the correct way for him to speak. For example, if your little one excitedly tells you, "I runded super fast, Mom!" you can reply with, "You ran super fast?"


  • Though variations in language development are normal, there are conditions that hinder this, such as poor hearing or cognitive development problems. If you're concerned, talk to his doctor.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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