Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

Communication and Your 2- to 3-Year-Old

Communicating with our kids is one of the most pleasurable and rewarding parts of parenting. Children learn by taking in information through daily interactions with us and the world around them.

How Toddlers Communicate

Between the ages of 2 and 3, toddlers have a huge jump in language skills:

  • At age 2, most kids say at least 2 words together. By 30 months, they are saying 50 words or more and are understood about half of the time. They are using words like “I,” “me,” or “we.” By 30 months, most kids can follow 2-step instructions, like "Pick up the ball and bring it to Daddy."
  • By age 3, a toddler's vocabulary usually is more than 200 words. Kids can string together 2- or 3-word sentences. They can talk with you in a conversation that has at least 2 back-and-forth exchanges. Other people can understand your toddler most of the time.

What Should I Do?

The more interactive conversation and play kids are involved in, the more they learn. Reading books, singing, playing word games, and simply talking to toddlers builds their vocabulary and teaches listening skills. Here are a few suggestions to help encourage your child's communication skills:

  • Talk to your toddler about what they did during the day or plan to do tomorrow: "I think it's going to rain this afternoon. What shall we do?" Or discuss the day's events at bedtime.
  • Play make-believe games.
  • Read favorite books together and ask questions, like “What is this?” or “What is the bear doing?” Encourage your child to join in with words or let your child "read" to you.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

By 3 years old, most toddlers:

  • say at least 50 words (by 30 months)
  • name things in a book when you point and ask (by 30 months)
  • say what action is happening in a picture, like running
  • ask who, what, where, or why questions
  • say their first name when asked
  • are understood by others most of the time

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your toddler's language development or speech clarity, or if you think your child has trouble hearing.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date Reviewed: 17-05-2022

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.