Communication development: By 2 years

Communication development: By 2 years

Play with your child - join in with what they are doing or what interests them. Make sure you're face to face when playing with your child - you may need to sit on the floor. Share your family's stories, songs/waiata and poems.

Here is some information about how children's communication skills usually develop by the age of 2. We have included some suggestions of activities to encourage communication at each age (tips). Use the language that you are most familiar and comfortable with.

By 2 years, most children ...

  • understand instructions containing two key words; for example, "give your cup to dad"
  • can listen to a simple story
  • use over 50 single words
  • are starting to combine words; for example, "go car", "more drink", "titiro pāpā!"
  • ask simple questions; for example, "what that?", "where ball?"
  • talk about what they can see and hear right now
  • enjoy pretend play with their toys; for example, feeding teddy, putting dolly to bed
  • join in with songs/waiata and nursery rhymes with actions
  • enjoy interactive books; for example, lift-the-flap books, such as 'Spot' and 'Little Kiwi', 'Hairy Maclary', etc.
  • can be understood by familiar adults most of the time

Tips

  • play with your child, join in with what they are doing or interested in
  • make sure you're face to face when playing with your child – you may need to sit on the floor. This is so you can see what your child is interested in – it also helps conversation!
  • share your family's stories, songs/waiata and poems

The content on this page has been produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and adapted from Much more than words | Manuka takoto, kawea ake (2014) (PDF, 565KB)

This page last reviewed 19 February 2018.
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