How Much Should My Two Year Old Be Talking?

Enrichment Therapies

December 20, 2016

Are you unsure if your child’s language abilities are developing on time? Do you wonder if your child should be talking or understanding more than they are?

As speech-language pathologists, we look at many communication skills when observing a two-year-old to determine if they are delayed in language development.  We note children’s expressive abilities (what they say) and receptive abilities (what they understand), as well as their play skills.

In this blog, I will outline some key language skills that children should be demonstrating by age two.  Please keep in mind this list is not exhaustive and if your child is not demonstrating all of the skills on time it does not mean that there is a delay or problem!  However, if you feel there is a language concern, consider an evaluation from a speech-language pathologist.  At Enrichment Therapy we are here to help, and early intervention is key!

Expressive Skills

  • The child learns and uses new words regularly
  • Has a vocabulary of at least 50 words
  • Refers to self by name
  • Verbalizes to request objects/wants needs (e.g., the child says “ball” when they want the ball)
  • Uses 2-word phrases (e.g., the child says “more juice” or “ball up”)
  • Uses action words- running, jumping
  • Responds to greetings consistently, and answers simple questions
  • Uses vowels and has the sounds /t/, /b/, /m/, and /p/ consistently
  • Names one color

Receptive Skills

  • The child follows simple 2- step commands (Put ball in box, throw the ball, give me keys)
  • Identifies familiar objects
  • Understands: bigger/ smaller size concepts
  • Understands verbs (eat, drink, sleep)
  • Answers yes/no questions correctly (e.g., Are you a boy?)
  • Identifies body parts

Play Skills

  • The child participates in a play routine for at least one minute
  • Pretends to pour from a container
  • Stacks and assembles toys
  • Pretends to talk on the telephone
  • Parallel play with other children
  • Uses a doll as a playmate

* Please refer to the Ages and Stages of Speech and Language handout here for more information.

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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Originally written by Suzanne Schuchert, M.S., CCC-SLP 2021. Updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness by Ashley Conrad, M.A., CCC-SLP in 2023....