Learning to talk

Mum and daughter reading

2 to 3 years

You and your child will see a member of your health visiting team at about 2 to 2-and-a-half years to talk about your child’s development. If your child goes to nursery, they will also have a progress review with their key worker.

If your child needs a little extra support, your health visitor and nursery can help. They may also put you in touch with a speech and language therapy team, or signpost you to local activities.

What is my child learning?

Between 2 to 3 years, children learn to say and understand more words. They should be able to:

  • ask questions like “what's that?”
  • use “I”, “me” and “you”
  • describe things using words like “big” or “little”
  • talk about past and future events

How can I help my child's speech development?

Help your child use more words:

  • when they say “dog”, you could respond with “yes, it's a big, noisy dog”
  • when you're playing together, talk about what your child is doing
  • talk to your child about feelings and memories
  • encourage your child to talk about future events, for example “we're going to the park tomorrow with Granny”
  • look at picture books together and talk about things they can see and how we use them, for example "a chair is something we sit on"

Speaking more than one language

It's important to talk to your child in the language, or languages, you feel most confident speaking.

Children who speak more than one language babble and say their first words in the same way as children learning one language, but some may do it slightly later. It is important not to confuse this slight delay with language difficulties – most children quickly catch up.

little boy reading at home

Help and advice

Ask your health visiting team for support whenever you need it, they will be able to provide tips and advice.

Remember, children learn to talk at different ages. If you are worried, speak to your health visitor or nursery key worker. Or contact your local speech and language therapy service for advice.

For more ideas on how you can help your child, visit: