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

Tue, February 21, 2012 12:27pm EST by 13 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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Posted at 6:39 AM on June 26, 2014  

i need some help with my coursework any other information you have may be useful i am currently starting my child study and i need to find some intellectual activities for a 2 year old
thank you.

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Posted at 5:57 AM on February 19, 2013  

I would have thought this was a site for concerned parents regarding their childs speech and language development but instead it seems a forum for a lot of people to comment on how great their childs speech and language development is. People should possibly be a bit more sensitive to the audience this is probably aimed at rather than place comments about how well their child is developing. The boasting is probably better shared with family and friends rather than concerned parents.

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Posted at 3:11 PM on February 26, 2013  

excellent comment! im not really sure if my son is delayed in speech or not, he does say a lot but he also doesn’t, if you know what i mean. i have been doing a lot of research as of recent and you are right, all of these comment sections are filled with boasting mommies. we get it, you’re proud but the commenter above is right!!!! save it for grandma! LOL

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Posted at 9:43 PM on September 16, 2012  

My son just turned two two months ago & when he try to say words it sounds like if he is only 14 months & some of the 25 words that they say a two year old should be saying he doesn’t say but he knows what everything is & @. If I tell him to go get something he does it but it’s hard for him to say it & when he try to say it his words are not very clear. My question why is his words not as clear as they should be at his age?

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Posted at 11:08 PM on June 27, 2012  

Babies will be babies as long as they know there loved

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Posted at 7:16 PM on February 24, 2012  

My son is also Autistic and being delayed with his speech was a huge red flag, but than again kids learn at their own pase.
He will be 8 in April and is just starting to put two words together (and some words I have no idea what he’s saying)

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Posted at 7:23 PM on February 21, 2012  

My 19 month old says al of those and then some. She say elephant. (Her favorite animal) and a lot more animal names she also knishes alot of American sign language. Sometimes I think she is too smart for her own good!!! I love watching her grow everyday!

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Posted at 6:18 PM on September 17, 2012  

my baby does everything i teach him thanks justin

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Selena T

Posted at 6:46 PM on February 21, 2012  

My son will be 2 next month and he still doesnt talk.. He only says about 20 words.. Has this happened with anyone else?

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Posted at 5:27 PM on February 21, 2012  

My 2 year old knows all but one of those plus some. for instance, instead of Daddy (who isn’t around for her to know) and says “uncle” (because she has 3 of them). she also knows please, your welcome, and excuse me.

but I will admit, my almost 4 year old autistic son didn’t know about 85% of these when he was 2. he knows them all plus many more now though! so proud of how well he’s doing :). it was such a big red flag when he hit 2 and only knew about 10-12 words he used infrequently…

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Ashley Allen

Posted at 4:29 PM on February 21, 2012  

my niece JUST turned 2 this January and she knows WAY more than that.For starters, she knows how to say coyote, i love you, and daltons mean. SO THERE!!!!!!!!!!

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Posted at 3:13 PM on March 7, 2012  

They are not saying they should only know these words. These are the BASIC words they should say and know by the age of 2. You could have a 2 yr old that says more then 100 words but if they don’t know these basic 25 words as a parent I would be concerned!!!! Please think before you write a stupid comment

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Dads Rule!

Posted at 1:40 PM on May 6, 2012  

Thank you!

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