Two to Three Years
Updated: Apr 5, 2020
Children develop at their own rate. Your child might not have all skills until the end of the age range.
What should my child be able to do?
Hearing and Understanding
Understands opposites, like go–stop, big–little, and up–down.
Follows 2-part directions, like "Get the spoon and put it on the table."
Understands new words quickly.
Has a word for almost everything.
Talks about things that are not in the room.
Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n in words.
Uses words like in, on, and under.
Uses two- or three- words to talk about and ask for things.
People who know your child can understand him.
Puts 3 words together to talk about things. May repeat some words and sounds.
What can I do to help?
Use short words and sentences. Speak clearly.
Repeat what your child says, and add to it. If she says, “Pretty flower,” you can say, “Yes, that is a pretty flower. The flower is bright red. It smells good too. Do you want to smell the flower?”
Let your child know that what he says is important to you. Ask him to repeat things that you do not understand. For example, say, “I know you want a block. Tell me which block you want.”
Teach your child new words. Reading is a great way to do this. Read books with short sentences on each page.
Talk about colors and shapes.
Practice counting. Count toes and fingers. Count steps.
Name objects, and talk about the picture on each page of a book. Use words that are similar, like mommy, woman, lady, grown-up, adult. Use new words in sentences to help your child learn the meaning.
Put objects into a bucket. Let your child remove them one at a time, and say its name. Repeat what she says, and add to it. Help her group the objects into categories, like clothes, food, animals.
Cut out pictures from magazines, and make a scrapbook. Help your child glue the pictures into the scrapbook. Name the pictures, and talk about how you use them.
Look at family photos, and name the people. Talk about what they are doing in the picture.
Write simple phrases under the pictures. For example, “I can swim,” or “Happy birthday to Daddy.” Your child will start to understand that the letters mean something.
Ask your child to make a choice instead of giving a “yes” or “no” answer. For example, rather than asking, “Do you want milk?” ask, “Would you like milk or water?” Be sure to wait for the answer, and praise him for answering. You can say, “Thank you for telling mommy what you want. Mommy will get you a glass of milk.”
Sing songs, play finger games, and tell nursery rhymes. These songs and games teach your child about the rhythm and sounds of language.
Talk to your child in the language you are most comfortable using.