tykeTALK: 24 months

Speech and Language Developmental Milestones at 24 months:

  • Children use 150-300 words.
  • Children use 2 pronouns (e.g. I, me, you, mine).
  • Children use two-word combinations most of the time. (e.g. “more cookie”, “hi mommy”, “no cookie”).
  • Children speak clearly enough to be understood about 2/3 of the time.
  • Children point to familiar actions/activities in pictures (e.g. sleeping, eating).
  • Children follow directions like “Get your coat.”, “Put the block on.” without accompanying gestures.
  • Children choose among common objects when asked (e.g. “Find the comb.”, “Where’s the baby?”).
  • Children enjoy playing with other children.
  • Children show increasing interest in books and may “read” to stuffed toys.
  • Children take turns during conversations with you.

How to make daily routines into language learning opportunities

  • Language learning happens all day long. If you talk to children while you are doing what you do every day, you are helping them learn new words.
  • When you use short sentences, you are giving children a model of language that they eventually will be able to use.
  • When you are doing the laundry, sentences like “Put the sock in.” and “Take the shirt out.” can be repeated. You can never say a word or phrase too many times. Children need a lot of repetition to learn new words and phrases.
  • During meal time, dressing time and bath time, talk to children about things they show interest in. Give them the models of short sentences that they can use.
  • You can repeat short sentences such as “Put your sock on.” and “Take your shoes off.” during dressing time, and sentences like “The water is hot.” and “Splash the water.” at bath time.
  • Provide children with different categories of words, like size (e.g. “I see a big ball.”) or location words (e.g. The ball is on the table.”). If children have words that can be combined into sentences, they have an easier time learning to speak in sentences.
  • Children at this age love to sing songs and participate in the song. Songs such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “The Eensy Weensy Spider” provide both fun and language learning opportunities. After you have sung the song or rhyme many times with children, wait for them to fill in the words at particular points during the song. You can learn new songs and rhymes by visiting your community Ontario Early Years Centre, where there are programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers and workshops for parents, at no charge.
  • Children at this age are becoming more interested in books and should be encouraged to talk about what they see on the page. Family photo albums are also favourites. Library story times provide wonderful opportunities for children to hear different stories and to understand that visits to the library can provide great adventures. For more information on public libraries in your area visit the London Public LibraryMiddlesex County LibrariesElgin County Libraries and Oxford County Libraries.
  • Children at this age like to read books to dolls and stuffed animals. Reading books with children every day will help their language develop.

What are the best ways to encourage speech and language at this stage?

  • Children will not say all speech sounds correctly. Speak clearly, so they will hear how speech sounds should be produced. Don’t correct them, when they say a sound incorrectly. Repeat the sound the correct way, so they will hear it.
  • Children at this age are using short sentences, so this is a good time to encourage sentence use. When you use short sentences, you are giving children a model of language that they eventually will be able to use. Sentences that are too long are hard for children to repeat. Remember, even though your sentences may be short, they should still use correct grammar.
  • Children need to learn action words (verbs) to be able to make short sentences. (e.g. “I see the car.”, “I am running.”).
  • If you emphasize the short sentences that you want children to learn, it helps them to use those sentences more consistently. For more ideas about helping children learn language visit The Hanen Centre ©.


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