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Your 2-year-old now
Your preschooler's vocabulary is on its way to becoming dictionary-thick. The typical 24-month-old knows about 50 to 75 words and is working the next big milestone: stringing them together into phrases and sentences. Two-word noun-verb sentences are typical at 2: "baby sleep" and "want milk." He'll probably begin expressing himself in longer sentences as the year goes by. If your child uses fewer than 20 words, he should be tested for hearing problems.
First sentences tend to be short (two to three words) and to the point: "Mommy help." "Play ball Daddy." Or a preschooler may echo a group of words she hears often, like "Go bye-bye" or "All gone."
Some ways to encourage your 2-year-old to speak in sentences:
- Expand on her bare-bones phrases in your reply: "You want Mommy to help you put your sock on." "Okay, Daddy will play ball with Lucy."
- Don't correct her grammar. Casually repeat the sentence using the right words, but it's way too early to point out mistakes.
- Don't insist your child repeat a full, proper sentence. Prompting, "Can you say, 'Mommy, help me with my sock?'" only disrupts the flow and frustrates your child.
- Read often in an interactive way, asking your child questions about what he sees on the page or what he thinks will happen next.
Your life now
If you're feeling like the clutter around your house is growing right along with your child, you're not alone. Not only do preschoolers continue to acquire toys at an alarming rate, but more and more those toys – blocks, puzzles, car collections – come with multiple parts, which preschoolers love to dump out and mix up.
Individual bins for each type of toy can help keep things organized. (Empty diaper-wipe boxes are an inexpensive way to keep track of smaller parts.) Save yourself clean-up time by putting out only one or two bins of toys at a time. This keeps the toys more interesting – and the floor tidier, too.
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