13 Words Children Should Know by Age 2

The words that children should know by age 2 are the foundation of their communication development. What are they?
13 Words Children Should Know by Age 2
Samanta Ruiz

Reviewed and approved by the teacher Samanta Ruiz.

Written by Samanta Ruiz

Last update: 27 December, 2022

While each individual has their own rate of development, several studies have determined an average number of words children should know by the age of 2. This information is reflected in a recent publication by the American Association of Pediatrics in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It establishes the maturational milestones that children should reach by a certain age.

Here are the words that children should know by their second birthday so you know what to expect. Keep reading!

More words, less words

In the first months of life, communication is full of gestures, noises, pouting, interpretations, and smiles. But from the age of one and a half years, an “explosion” of expressive language occurs, characterized by rapid learning and the daily incorporation of new words.

By the age of two, most children have a repertoire of about 50 words, and many are able to combine two words in a sentence. For example, “mama water” to ask their mother for a drink.

Now let’s look at the most common words that children should know by age 2. Take note!

1. Two

This is the number that identifies their age.

2. Mommy and Daddy

The most important people in the world to little ones are also the first to hear these beautiful words.

A mother standing near a lilac bush and talking to her toddler.
Children’s language development is greatly influenced by the stimuli they receive from the environment around them. Therefore, it’s key for parents to be involved in this learning and put in place appropriate strategies.

3. Baby

By the age of 2, children already know how to refer to themselves with this sweet word.

4. The names of their siblings

In general, children can name their siblings and other people in their immediate environment. For example, their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, caregivers.

5. Dog, cat, and the names of their pets

We know that animals and children have a special connection and it’s partly evident at the moment of the first words. Little ones learn their names quickly, perhaps before those of their own siblings!

6. Girl, boy

Words that identify their peers are some of the first words children learn to say. Especially if they share daily with other toddlers, whether they’re family members or preschool or daycare classmates.

7. Hello and goodbye

Babies first learn to wave, and by the age of two, they know how to say hello and goodbye.

Water, milk, spoon, cookie, banana, bread, food, etc. In general, this type of vocabulary varies according to the culinary customs of the household.

“Help your child learn how words sound, even if she can’t yet say them clearly. For example, if your child says ma nana, say ‘do you want more banana?'”


9. More, yes and no

2-year-olds know the meaning of these 3 words and already know how to use them. If you ask them if they want another cookie, they’ll be able to answer yes or no perfectly.

10. Good and bad, wrong and right

In learning language, children also learn more abstract words, such as good and bad. In general, these words are associated with simple questions so that the child can understand them better and use them by this age. A good way to start showing them that something is right or wrong is during play or in daily routines, such as tidying up or washing hands.

11. Hand, foot, eye, mouth

According to the milestones discussed above, by 24 months, children know how to point to the body parts you ask them to show you. But some toddlers can also name some simple structures, such as foot, nose, eye, hand, and mouth.

12. Pee and poop

Around two years of age, children begin the process of toilet training and learn how to tell when they want to go to the bathroom.

A baby sitting on a potty in the bathroom.
Everyday activities, such as potty time, are appropriate scenarios for enriching children’s language.

13. Pacifier and the name of their favorite toy or attachment object

These are two of their favorite words that children learn very quickly!

Words children should know at age 2: Why is it important to know them?

As we explained before, each child matures at their own pace. However, there are key moments for which some standards have been established in order to corroborate that the language development process is appropriate for their age.

You’re probably wondering why, and this is because, in case of detecting any difficulty and acting quickly, the results obtained may be better. So, don’t wait and consult with your child’s pediatrician or another professional in the area who can help you understand what’s happening with your child’s communication skills.

If you’re in the wonderful twos of your child, embark on the adventure of learning the first words. Enjoy hearing them and talk to them with love and patience so that they feel safe, loved, and content in this process.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.