Two-Word Phrases: What Are They and When Will Baby Use Them?
What was baby’s first word?
Whether it was “mama,” “dada,” or something else, the first word is a memorable moment for baby! Baby usually says their first word around their first birthday. From the ages of 12 to 24 months, baby will start saying more and understanding more! As their vocabulary grows, they’ll also reach a new milestone: beginning to use two-word phrases. This is an important step in baby’s communication development, and is a sign they’re on their way to talking more!
What are two-word phrases and when will baby start to say them? Baby learns so quickly at this age, so there is so much that can be done to help encourage baby to use phrases. It’s a great time to take advantage of baby’s developing brain!
What are two-word phrases?
These are two words young children will pair together to communicate a new message. Two-word phrases show baby is learning the meaning of words, and that words can be combined to make new meaning.
Baby may be using a two-word phrase to ask for something, tell someone what they want, or to share information or comment on something. An example of a simple two-word phrase is “Mommy go”, which may be a child asking their Mom to take them somewhere.
Sometimes baby will say two words that commonly go together, but this isn’t technically a phrase. For example, saying “thank you” or “bye-bye” are common words that go together. This isn’t a new idea that baby is trying to communicate, so these are not considered two-word phrases.
When will baby start using two-word phrases?
Using two-word phrases is a 24 month communication milestone. Two-word phrases may begin to emerge around 18-21 months, but are used more frequently by 24 months. Before baby starts making two-word phrases, they’ll need to expand their vocabulary and understanding of language.
How can you encourage your child to use two-word phrases?
There are many ways you can help baby’s communication development on a daily basis! Try some of these activities to help baby build two-word phrases.
- Narrate your day: This is a great way to encourage baby to talk, help increase their vocabulary, and strengthen baby’s communication skills! Narrating is the action of saying what is happening while something is happening. So for example, if you say “I’m cutting an apple” while cutting an apple, you’re narrating that action. There is no wrong way to “narrate your day,” but there are some tips and tricks that can expose baby to more words and sounds. Learn more!
- Add new words: Even if baby isn’t saying much, they understand a lot of what you say! When baby says a single word, reply by adding a word to connect two words. For example, if baby says “doggie”, you may respond with “BIG doggie!” Adding new words can help them hear and connect new words to different routines or experiences.
- Read stories: Books play an important role in baby’s communication development and learning. Reading stories to baby helps them to learn new words, understand how language works, and understand how to ask questions or express themselves. All of this helps with saying two-word phrases!
- Play singing and rhyming games: Have fun with baby’s communication development! Playing signing or rhyming games also teaches them how to communicate.
- Use short sentences: Baby learns how to speak by listening to you, so keep it short and sweet! Baby will understand better with little bits of information at a time. Try to break up sentences into shorter phrases with baby.
If your child isn’t using two-word phrases by 24 months, talk to a healthcare provider.