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Language Development 2-3 Years Old

Between 2 and 3 years of age, children learn language very quickly. You may not be able to understand all their speech sounds and they may not use correct grammatical forms, but as their language skills develop you’ll begin to understand how they see their world.


Language Development at 2-3 Years

Your toddler will understand and be using lots of different types of words including nouns (such as dog and baby), verbs to describe actions (such as play or walk), adjectives (such as wet and sore) and pronouns (such as you and I).

For the first time, children learn the art of conversation: as they understand what is being said to them, and practice the different sounds used in speech.

They will also understand and be able to say whether an object is ‘on’ or ‘in’ something, ask questions using words such as ‘what’ and ‘where’, as well as start to understand the difference between concepts such as ‘mine’ and ‘yours’.

Although they may get a little jumbled with their words at times and not always pronounce words correctly they will be happy to keep talking if they feel they are being understood.


At the age of 2, your child is likely to be using 50 or more different words. In the following year, your toddler’s vocabulary will probably double to include over 100 words: as they discover and use more words each day.


By the age of 3, most children will know around 200 words. They will use more sentences with two or three words; and engage in conversation with other children and parents. Every child’s development in language will happen at a different rate – some 3 year olds will know as many as 900 words. Encourage your child to describe common objects; sing nursery rhymes; and speak to your child’s educator or health professional about their developmental milestones if you are concerned.


By 3 Years Old a Toddler Can Usually…

As you watch your child learn new words, 3 year olds become better communicators and more engaged learners. As they continue to develop their language skills as they describe things, sing songs, and become better at communicating their thoughts and feelings. By providing opportunities for your child to talk, listen, and read, you can help them to progress in their language development.

Key language milestones at this age include being able to:

  • Understand and be able to follow complex 2-part instructions (such as ‘give me the toy’ and ‘sit down’)
  • Understand what is meant by ‘same’ and ‘different’ and be able to sort items into groups
  • Use four or five word simple sentences
  • Be able to say a variety of words for names, actions, locations and descriptions
  • Begin to ask questions using ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘who’
  • Start talking about something that happened in the past
  • Have a conversation with you – but they may not take turns, keep to the subject or make much sense!



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