Here Are 25 Words Your 2-Year-Old Should Know

As parents, we can easily drive ourselves crazy worrying if our children are hitting their milestones at appropriate times. One thing you begin to realize (eventually) is that every child is unique and develops at his or her own pace. Your first kid might be speaking in full sentences shortly after age one, and your second might not utter more than two words at a time until well into his second year. But if you are concerned or nervous that your little one isn’t building up a solid vocabulary, there is research to suggest that there is something you can do to help.

Leslie Altman Rescorla is the director of the Child Study Institute at Bryn Mawr College, and through her research, she discovered something interesting about children’s ability to learn language across the board:

ABC News reports:

Rescorla said that recent studies of children’s language development in Greece, the Netherlands and South Korea echo findings she published in 2001 – that whether a child is slow to learn language or learns language at an average rate, there are certain commonly used words that she is likely to know, and when working on language intervention for late talkers, Rescorla said, it’s good to focus on such words when building a basic vocabulary.

So if your two-year-old isn’t quite speaking as much as his or her peers, it’s best not to put a lot of pressure on the child to learn a more advanced vocabulary. Instead, according to Rescorla, your time and effort would be better spent focusing on a list of 25 simple words that most two-year-olds can speak (see below).

A “late talker” is someone who speaks fewer than 50 words by the age of 24 months. If you have a late talker in your house, take comfort in something else that Rescorla found:

Her research on children with language delays – and no other disabilities – showed that late talkers were “functioning at the normal range” by about age 4 or 5.

“The important point is they’re not learning language in some very unusual way, they’re just learning it later,” she said.

Check out the 25 words on Rescorla’s list:


  • mommy
  • daddy
  • baby
  • milk
  • juice
  • hi/hello
  • ball
  • no
  • yes
  • dog
  • cat
  • nose
  • eye
  • banana
  • cookie
  • car
  • hot
  • thank you
  • bath
  • shoe
  • hat
  • book
  • all gone
  • bye bye
  • more

Join the conversation as a VIP Member