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15 Words Your Toddler Should Be Using By Age 2

Does having one's own made up language count? If so Violet doesn't have any problems.

Some kids are just late talkers and it doesn’t signify anything but that they’re taking their sweet time.  But sometimes, delayed speaking or a limited vocabulary can be a sign of a larger problem likie hearing issues, autism or dyslexia.

As Yahoo Shine reports, researchers from the Child Study Institute at Bryn Mawr College have identified a list of 25 words every toddler should be using by age 2. The words have been described as the “canary in the coal mine,” meaning if your toddler isn’t using these words you might want to try and figure out why and try to help them build their language skills.

The average toddler uses 75 to 225 words and is able to combine them into phrases. Twenty-five is considered the minimum for late talkers. In a previous study, director Dr. Nancy Rescorla demonstrated that children with normal delayed speech tend to catch up by 4 or 4. She adds that when helping late talkers build their language skills, it’s a good idea to focus on basic vocabulary.

Again, don’t panic if your toddler is using fewer words than average, as every child develops at his or her own pace.  But if you notice a significant lack of speech from your child, Dr. Rescorla says you may want to have him or her evaluated by an expert, as early intervention offers the best outcome.

Here are 15 of the 25 words every toddler should be using by age 2:


  • Bath 1 of 15
    Bath
    I also think "tub" would be acceptable in this case. We call it "Tub Time!" around these parts.
  • Mommy 2 of 15
    Mommy
    I had such high hopes that mommy or mama would be a first word for one of my kids. Alas, Violet's first word was Dada and Henry's was Duck. Jerks. I carried you for nine months of neverending morning sickness and this is the thanks I get?
  • Baby 3 of 15
    Baby
    Should be easy, right? Seems like all toddlers are fascinated by babies. Except my Violet who is still working on appreciating her younger brother.
  • Daddy 4 of 15
    Daddy
    Yeah. Like I said, this guy scored with both kids on this one. Both kids said daddy first. He must drill them on it when I'm not around.
  • Cat 5 of 15
    Cat
    This is Charlie the cat who hangs around our backyard. Both kids are in love with the ol' boy so that helps when learning words. Violet has taken to shouting "C is for cat and Charlie!" Which, believe me, she doesn't know that Charlie starts with the letter "C", it's just a lucky coincidence, but we don't tell anyone else that because then they think we're better parents than we really are.
  • Doggy 6 of 15
    Doggy
    Because we have two big lummox dogs constantly roaming our house, this word is a no-brainer for both kids. In fact, at 1, Henry is already saying their names: Max and Milo.
  • Hot 7 of 15
    Hot
    Another easy one to learn as every time I make another of my stellar meals featuring chicken nuggets or fish sticks we all gather around the stovec while I pretend to touch hot burners and say "hot!"
  • Shoes 8 of 15
    Shoes
    I don't think Violet learned this one while 2, so take heart, those of you worried about kids who are slow to talk.
  • Milk 9 of 15
    Milk
    Henry isn't saying milk yet but he knows the word baba (bottle). Does that count?
  • Hat 10 of 15
    Hat
    Does your kid wear a hat? Mine won't. Why do all kids hate hats? Put it on 'em, they take it off, put it on 'em, they take it off. Leave it on, dammit! Don't you know how cute it looks!?
  • Hello/Hi 11 of 15
    Hello/Hi
    Henry knows this word. He flops his little hand up and down and says "Hi Dada" every time he sees his dad. Even if the last time he say him was just a few seconds ago. As you can imagine, there is a lot of "hi dada" going on around these parts.
  • Ball 12 of 15
    Ball
    At 13 months, Henry is on the cusp of learning this one.
  • Book 13 of 15
    Book
    Lately, after we read a book Violet will close it with a bang, sigh and say "That was a good story!" which is funny considering it's usually the eighty billionth time we've read said story. And still, she relishes each time like it's the first.
  • Juice 14 of 15
    Juice
    Violet, in search of "cold juice" as she likes to call it.
  • Cookie 15 of 15
    Cookie
    It should really be everyone's first word, right? Seriously, are the Girl Scouts gone yet? Because those cookies all the time looking at me every time I go into the grocery store is going to be the end of me!

To see the rest of the 25 common words that should form the building blocks of a toddler’s vocabulary click here.

You can also find Monica Bielanko on her personal blog, The Girl Who.

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