What Should a 3-year-old Be Saying? Speech and Language Development Tips for Children from 2 to 3-Years.

Tips to nurture your toddler's speech and language development from 2-3 years.

What Should a 3-year-old Be Saying? Speech and Language Development Tips for Children from 2 to 3-Years.

What should a 3-year-old be saying? Speech and Language Development Tips for Children from 2 to 3-Years.

As parents and caregivers, witnessing the rapid development of speech and language skills in a toddler between 2 and 3 years old is nothing short of wondrous. At this age, children's ability to communicate blossoms, and they start to express themselves more clearly each day. However, it's also a time when many parents might wonder if their child's development is on track. Understanding and encouraging the communication milestones for this age can be both rewarding and beneficial.

Recognizing the Milestones

By age 2 to 3, children often begin to:

  • Combine words frequently, forming short sentences.
  • Gain attention with phrases like "Look at me!"
  • Name themselves and talk about their actions using simple verbs.
  • Understand and start using plurals and past tense.
  • Produce sounds like p, b, m, h, w, d, n, and most vowels more accurately.

Yet, it's essential to remember that developmental timelines can vary widely from child to child. If you're concerned your child isn't meeting these milestones, resources like the ASHA ProFind can help you locate a certified professional for an assessment.

Engaging Strategies to Support Your Toddler

Here are some practical tips to encourage your child's communication development:

1. Speak Clearly with Simple Words and Sentences

Interact with your child using clear language. This helps them to mimic and learn new words.

2. Expand on Their Language

When your child speaks, repeat their phrases and add new information, turning "Pretty flower" into a mini-lesson about colors, smells, and nature.

3. New Words Daily

Introduce new vocabulary during daily activities. Books, outdoor walks, and even playtime offer endless opportunities for new words.

4. Counting and Categorization

Incorporate counting in daily play and help your child categorize objects, which enhances not only language but cognitive skills.

5. Scrapbooking for Vocabulary

Create a scrapbook with your child using pictures from magazines. Discuss each image and its use to build a rich vocabulary.

6. Choices Over Yes/No Questions

Prompt your child to make choices. This practice encourages decision-making and more complex language use.

7. Embrace Songs and Rhymes

Children learn the rhythm and sounds of language through songs and nursery rhymes, which makes these activities both fun and educational.

8. Multilingual Environment

If your household is multilingual, speak to your child in the languages you are comfortable with. This enriches their linguistic foundation without hindering the acquisition of English or other languages.


The journey from babbling to storytelling is an exciting time for you and your child. By engaging with your child in these enriching activities, you are setting the stage for a lifetime of communication and learning. Remember that every child's developmental path is unique. Celebrate their progress and provide them with a rich, supportive environment to grow their language skills.

For more detailed guidance on developmental milestones and how to support your toddler's speech and language, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s resource on Communication Milestones: 2 to 3 Years.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). Communication Milestones: 2 to 3 Years. ASHA. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/public/developmental-milestones/communication-milestones-2-to-3-years/