How to Get Your Child to Combine 2+ Words

Apr 22, 2022 | Speech Tips

Are you ready to learn how to get your child to start putting two (or more) words together?

If your child is saying a bunch of single words, NOW is the time to help him start putting those words together! YOU can help your child climb The Language Ladder, and we are here to help!

INSTEAD OF . . . 

Copying the one word your child says: “Banana” 

TRY THIS . . . 

  • Adding a word or two to the original word:
  • “Yum! Banana!”
  • “Eat banana”
  • “Yellow banana”

COMBINING WORDS:

Before your little one can start combining words, he/she needs to be able to do the following:

~ SAY APPROXIMATELY 50 WORDS

This usually happens between 18-24 months.

~ SAY TWO-SYLLABLE WORDS:

Example: dada, monkey

~ USE A VARIETY OF WORD TYPES:

Such as nouns, verbs, prepositions, etc.

~ USE WORDS PLUS GESTURES TO EXPRESS TWO IDEAS:

Your child will say “Mama” then point to something he wants.

🌟 If your toddler is able to do these things but is still not combining words, here is your plan to help:

1. MODEL 2-WORD PHRASES

During an interaction with your little one, speak to him using a 2-word phrase, such as “all gone!” or “bye Daddy” or “more milk.”⁠

2. EXPAND ON HIS LANGUAGE: 

By expanding on your child’s language, you are reinforcing what he’s saying and helping to build his vocabulary as well. For example: Your child says “ball.”  You say “red ball,” or “big ball,” or “throw the ball.”⁠

3. USE A “PARENTESE” VOICE:

Instead of just saying the words, try using a higher-pitched, exaggerated voice. It works!

4. PLAY!

Remember, play is a child’s work. Much learning takes place as you interact with your child in the realm of imagination and play. Take advantage of your time together and play intentionally! Here are some examples:

Cook:

There are endless opportunities to implement 2-word phrases as you pretend to cook together:

  • “Snack time”
  • “Eat banana”
  • “Drink milk” 
  • “I’m hungry”
  • “Thank you”
  • “Yes, please”
  • “Beans, yum”
  • “Apple pie”

Cars: 

  • “Go fast”
  • “Car crash”
  • “Red car”
  • “Up, up, up”

Outdoor play:

Playing outdoors will always be a favorite go-to for kids. There’s so much to discover, and the opportunities are endless. Use outdoor play all year long to talk about each new discovery:

  • “Cold snow”
  • “Go for a walk”
  • “Build a fort”
  • “Mud puddle”
  • “Ride bike”
  • “Bird’s nest”
  • “Climb hill”
  • “Pretty stones”

5. READ BOOKS

What a great resource books can be! You can find many toddler-targeted books to help build their vocabulary, advancing from a 1-word repertoire to a 2-word conversation! Here are some suggestions provided by andalusiaspeech.com: 

  • Fox’s Socks
  • Pants
  • Where is Maisy?
  • Big Little
  • Where Is the Green Sheep?
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

*If your toddler is 24 months or older and not able to do the things listed above, then we recommend talking to your pediatrician and/or a certified speech and language pathologist.⁠⁠⁠

**Our Time to Talk: Toddler Course is designed to help you to help your baby expand their language and move them up The Language Ladder, from single words to sentences!

To learn simple and effective strategies to help get your little one talking, check out our Talk on Track (newborn-14 months) and Time to Talk: Toddler Course (15-36 months). We’d love to equip you to experience the joy of your little one talking to you!

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Hi! We're Brooke & Bridget.

We know what you want most is for your child to talk. With more than 20 years of combined experience, we’ve diagnosed and treated hundreds of children with a variety of communication disorders and delays... if your child is having trouble communicating, we can absolutely help. 

We love everything about our work, but we're most excited about guiding parents with practical tips to integrate speech and language techniques into their everyday routines. We'd be honored to partner with you, too!

(And yes, we really are sisters!)

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