Understanding little children, especially in their toddler years, is always full of pleasant surprises. This is the time when your children’s grammar skills are developing at a much faster rate. You never know what funny words come out from their mouths.
Beginning at 2 years old, these kids can already pick up correct use of verbs, nouns, pronouns, prepositions and all the other language bits by ear and speaking them right out.
Some characteristics of 2-year olds
Per previous studies, two-year-olds have been found to have more than 50 words in their vocabulary. They communicate mostly by saying two and three word phrases that enable them to participate in adult-like conversations. Most of these words are nouns (for objects and people) greetings, and other key words such as “more” and “now”. They can answer simple questions, too.
Children of this age are more than eager to hone their language skills by imitating and copying adults and older children. Later, they are able to manage and make five-word phrases confidently.
They are captivated by animated adults reading illustrated books. These books teach new words that they seldom hear. A book about the zoo introducing the animals brings in new words for their vocabulary.
These children are quick to identify pictures in books, helping them in their language development, even interacting with storytellers. They chat to themselves during play which actually is a good way to practice their talking skills.
At this age, these children are aware of others around them. They use their names and they are beginning to understand the concept of the pronouns “he” and ‘she.”
They are able to manage themselves: taking a bath, getting dressed, eating and playing. They are also able to identify at least 6 parts of their bodies that include the hands, legs, nose, and mouth.
These children can follow simple two-step instructions. (“Please pick up the ball and put it in the box.”) They are not yet ready to ask questions, but they can understand easy questions asked of them, like “Where is mommy?” This is because their receptive language skills (understanding of words and language) develop faster than their expressive skills or oral abilities in words and language.
They know how to use their own names, in effect identifying themselves from the others. This is the beginning of awareness of his or her own personality, an important milestone for any developing child.
They can sing parts or whole of nursery rhymes, enjoying the music, and the interest to sing along with it. This is also an opportunity of practicing use of more words.
At this stage, the child can communicate variations of the word “no” and other negative phrases. This is a powerful and useful skill for him. The child is also able to understand the idea of past actions and the use of the past tense,
Also, they are able to pronounce the sounds of the letters B, P, M, G, N, K, H, W, D, and T.
Some characteristics of a 3-year old
3-year olds understand most aspects of the language and start to figure out the grammatical rules and add them to their speech.
Sometimes, what sounds like nonsense words are word experiments for them, like calling a fountain “crash water”, a picturesque name. They know how words sound and how sentences are put together and begin to mix new word combinations on their own.
They understand well how meanings change in a language even before they can speak: that of changing the word order and adding prefixes and suffixes in the words.
By the time they turn three, children are most likely to be very good talkers. They can carry a conversation well, know how to adjust their tones and speech patterns and to the vocabulary of their speaking mate. (They use simpler words with another child their own age, but can be more verbal with adults.)
As parents, understanding children – the little ones specifically – can be a most pleasant exercise one can have. Even including the tantrums when all the trouble was you cannot understand them sometimes.