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My Baby Turned 2! What communication skills are next?

Updated: May 2023

Times flies! I feel like just the other day I held this little helpless baby in my arms and then I blinked. Now, he's 2! Whenever we hit major milestones it's a good time to review what developmental skills we should be working toward. So, what should a two year old be able to do? I'm so glad you asked! :)

But before I can look at what skills are next, say over the next 12 months, I need to make sure that he is doing what he needs to be doing at his current age.

The communication skills that a twenty four month old should have mastered include:

Comprehension / Understanding

  • points to major body parts (arms, legs, head, back, tummy/stomach, etc...)

  • follows simple one step directions ("get the car!" or "pick up the book")

  • understands simple questions ("where is daddy?" or "what's that!?")

  • listens to simple stories, nursery rhymes and songs (books with one word or one simple sentence on a page)

  • points to common objects in books

Expressive Language / Talking

  • has a growing vocabulary (has a word for most family members, friends, favorite foods and preferred toys, and possibly favorite TV characters)

  • asks simple questions ("ball?" uses rising intonation to ask where the is the ball or "where bear" using simple wh- question words)

  • combines two words (more grape, want truck, get dog, go potty)

  • uses a variety of consonant sounds at the beginnings of words (may not say sounds at the ends of words consistently yet)

On his second birthday, Little W seems to be doing ok...with the exception of asking simple questions. Although, his favorite game is where he says "Sissy" and I ask "where's Sissy?" and he announces "koo!" (school). He'll do that little exchange with me at least 20 times, probably more than that if I'd keep playing along. Sometimes he'll even add in "daddy" "where's daddy?" "koo!" "No, daddy is at work." So, maybe he is asking questions with one word, but not using the rising intonation. We'll work on it.

But what's next? For 24-36 month olds, here is a list of communication skills that should be developing:

Comprehension / Understanding

  • opposites (big/little, cold/hot, on/off)

  • follows simple, two step directions (where you have to do the first part of the direction in order to do the second part, example: Pick up the cup and give it to me or Get the bear and put it away)

  • listens to longer stories or more than one story in a sitting (two-three sentences per page is a good length for this age)

Expressive Language / Talking

  • has a growing vocabulary and can name most common objects even if he doesn't encounter them every day (or every week)

  • combines two and three words consistently

  • asks questions what, where and why questions (yikes! why questions!)

  • speech is understood 50-75% of the time by caregivers, although strangers may not understand

  • will indicate a desired object by naming it

I have to say I am excited about the skills that he'll be gaining over this next year!

Come back soon to see some of the activities that we are doing at home (and you can too!) that address these skills!

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