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The 25 Words Every 2-Year-Old Should Know, Researchers Say

Tue, February 21, 2012 12:27pm EDT by HL Intern 14 Comments
Words Toddlers Know

Researchers have identified the 25 words that every 2-year-old should be saying — and say a child’s inability to do so can reveal developmental issues like autism.

Leslie Rescorla, director of the Child Study Institute at Bryn Mawr College, developed the list after choosing from a list of 310 words that kids tend to use when they first begin speaking, according to the Daily Mail. Twenty-five words is just the minimum set for late talkers. The average toddler’s word range is 75 to 225 words!

“The bottom line is this: Children should have 50 words by the time they are two and they should begin to combine words into phrases,” Leslie says. “If they are not doing that, it’s worth evaluating them because they might have a problem you can start helping them with early.”

Researchers also say that limiting the amount of TV toddlers watch is better for their development. Studies found that they develop language quicker if they spend more time engaged in conversation instead of staring at the television screen.

“When a child doesn’t have enough words at the age of two, that is not only a problem in its own right, but it’s a signal of a variety of other problems,” says Professor Nan Bernstein Ratner, moderator of the panel at the American Association for the Advancement on Science when the findings were reported last weekend.

Some of the possible problems these toddlers may be facing include autism, hearing problems or delays in their mental development. While most late talkers catch up, it’s possible their skills will not be up to par with other kids who were a lot more talkative at the same age.

Toddlers who come from bilingual families are only expected to know 25 words in one of their languages.

The 25 Words Toddlers Should Know:

  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • baby
  • milk
  • juice
  • hello
  • bye-bye
  • yes
  • no
  • dog
  • cat
  • ball
  • nose
  • eye
  • banana
  • cookie
  • car
  • hot
  • thank-you
  • bath
  • shoe
  • hat
  • book
  • more
  • all gone


-Milly Contreras


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