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.

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Here is some information about how children's communication skills usually develop by the age of 2. Below are some activity suggestions to encourage communication from 2 years. Use the language that you are most familiar and comfortable with.

By 2 years, what should my child be able to say and do?

  • understand instructions containing 2 key words; for example, "give your cup to dad"
  • listen to a simple story
  • use over 50 single words
  • be 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.
  • be understood by familiar adults most of the time

What are some tips to help my baby's communication development at 2 years?

  • 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
References

If you would like to look at anything in more detail, this listing of references might be a good starting point.

Acknowledgements

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 17 November 2020.

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