It's an exciting time for your child and their language development! At 2-years-old, your child will have a vocabulary of around 50 words and will be able to string together sentences of a couple of words. Furthermore, they'll be able to understand much of what is being said around then and can follow simple, two-part commands. Their language abilities are developing rapidly and now is an important time to take steps that will encourage healthy growth in this area. Read on for a few pointers that will help you encourage your child!
- Converse regularly - Even if your little one can't have a full-fledged, in-depth conversation with you, they can certainly try! The more your child has the opportunity to practice having conversations with you and other loved ones, the more their speech abilities will grow. They'll be making efforts to understand what you're saying and pushing themselves to express themselves with the words and gestures that they know. Plus, practicing back and forth conversation is a wonderful practice in socializing properly.
- Stretch their sentences - When your toddler offers you a few words in conversation, stretch what they're saying to model more sophisticated speaking and proper grammar. For example, if you're in the kitchen preparing their favorite fruit they may exclaim, "Apple!" Counterback with a full sentence like, "Yes, I'm cutting up an apple! You love to eat apples, don't you?" At this age, your child is listening and absorbing everything you're saying, so your informal language lessons won't be lost on them.
- Sing songs & nursery rhymes - The rhythm and repetition found in songs and nursery rhymes help your little one to retain words and expressions with much more ease than if the words were simply spoken in conversation. That's why the alphabet song is such an integral part of learning letters or why many children learn little jingles to memorize their parents' phone numbers. It's a fun way to practice speech and can be done in the car or while cleaning up toys. Storypod's Crafties can help with songs and poems specially curated with your child's development in mind!
- Use active listening - Children crave their parents' attention and showing that you're actively listening to what your toddler is saying is a powerful way to motivate them to practice and develop their language skills. Be emphatic when responding to them, using plenty of facial expressions and gestures.
- Read - Reading is one of the best ways to expose your child to new vocabulary and patterns of speech. Children at this age love reading the same stories over and over. Be sure to humor them, because that repetition is helping your child's brain solidify concepts. And if you see illustrations of things your child knows, point and ask them to identify it. Be sure to give tons of praise if they get it right! If you'd like to learn more about reading interactively with your toddler, check out this Storypod article.