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Your 2-year-old now
Look for reassuring signs that your child's language skills are on track by watching her behavior as well as listening to her words. Among the language-related skills expected between 24 and 36 months:
- Listens to a story with pictures (staying engaged as you discuss them).
- Plays pretend games.
- Enjoys looking at picture books, turning pages, and naming what she sees.
- Can answer questions with "yes" or "no."
- Can follow a simple request.
- Learns new words quickly.
- Copies words a parent speaks.
- Names common foods and objects she has regular contact with.
- Identifies body parts.
- Refers to herself by name and knows her last name.
- Knows about 200 words by 24 months and 450 words by 30 months.
- Uses two words together by 24 months and three- to four-word sentences by 36 months.
- Sings songs and knows a nursery rhyme or two.
If you feel your child is not on schedule with speech or has suddenly stopped progressing or regressed, tell your doctor. An audiology screen and evaluation by a speech-language pathologist can determine if there's something wrong (such as hearing loss) and design an early-intervention plan to help.
Your life now
Many parents think about having another child when the first one is winding down the preschooler months. There's no ideal spacing, but an advantage to a two- to three-year difference is that the children can be playmates as they grow. It's not a good idea to tell your firstborn about an expected baby until the first trimester has safely passed (so you won't have to explain miscarriage, since that's when the risk is greatest). Although it's fine to share the news in the second trimester, you may want to wait until you're 8 or 9 months along – when you're visibly changed and the wait won't be too long – to talk up the impending arrival.
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