A recent article by the NY Daily News listed 25 “must have” words for toddlers. It’s not surprising that this list is comprised of people, things, social sayings, and descriptions that a child comes into contact with and hears on a regular basis. These words are important and reinforcing to the child and heard repetitively. Repetition of words is key to children learning and then using those words on their own.
Here is the list:
It is also not surprising that the majority of the list is comprised of nouns. The large bulk of a child’s initial vocabulary is made up of nouns, as we as adults often label those words most frequently for our children. Also, children are much more motivated to use nouns in their requests since it gives them access to their highly desired item. Describing their feelings or how something feels or tastes is not overly exciting or rewarding for a toddler. That being said, for children to begin combining words, they need at least 50 words in their vocabulary, made up of a variety of nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. As parents, it is important to teach children a variety of words in their play and their surroundings (e.g. “BIG bubble”, “COLD milk”, “FAST car”, “jump UP”, “GO mommy” etc.). Not only does it aid a child’s comprehension when they hear a variety of words, but it also allows them to combine more words together and get their message across with greater success. Talk about what you see, what you are doing and describe how things move and feel! Get down to your child’s level and repeat, repeat, repeat! Your toddler will be combining words in no time! If your child is older than 2 years of age and has less than 50 words, consider seeking support from a Speech Pathologist. We can give you tips and strategies to help facilitate your child’s language.
For more information on developmental norms, click here.
Tips to get your child to talk! also has some great tips!