Last updated on Feb 11th, 2021 at 11:13 am

Most children are talking by their second birthday. Not sure if your child’s language is on the right track? Researchers have identified 25 must-have words toddlers should be able to say by the age of two. According to the study these 25 words are just the baseline for toddler talkers. A two year olds’ normal range is from 75-225 words. Children who are late talkers usually have an average vocabulary of 25 words. “Children should have 50 words by the time they are two and they should begin to combine words into phrases,” said Leslie Rescorla, director of the Child Study Institute at Bryn Mawr College who developed the checklist.

Expand your little one’s vocabulary and get him chatting with these tips and guidelines. 

Must-have toddler vocabulary checklist

  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Baby
  • Milk
  • Juice
  • Hello
  • Bye-bye
  • Yes
  • No
  • Dog
  • Cat
  • Ball
  • Nose
  • Eye
  • Banana
  • Cookie
  • Car
  • Hot
  • Thank you
  • Bath
  • Shoe
  • Hat
  • Book
  • More
  • All gone

Warning signs of a possible problem:

  • If your child isn’t using gestures of waving bye-bye by 12 months.
  • If he prefers gestures over vocalisations to communicate at 18 months.
  • If your child has trouble imitating sounds by 18 months.
  • If he has difficulty understanding simple verbal requests.

ALSO SEE: Speech difficulties in toddlers

According to, parents should seek an evaluation if a child over two years old:

  • Can only imitate speech or actions and doesn’t produce words or phrases spontaneously.
  • Says only certain sounds or words repeatedly and can’t use oral language to communicate more than his immediate needs.
  • If your child can’t follow simple directions.
  • If your child has an unusual tone of voice (such as raspy or nasal sounding).

“Bear in mind that all toddlers develop at their own pace, so if your child still gestures more than speaks at this stage, but has a clear understanding of what you are saying, don’t worry,” says Ann Richardson, the author of Toddler Sense.

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