Between 30 and 36 months, your child will begin to construct sentences of four or five words. He'll also be able to tell stories and ask "what" and "where" questions. Of course, this ability comes amid a flurry of language development that started before his second birthday and will continue long after it. Your child is beginning to understand grammar and to use pronouns.
You Drive in Car
A 2- to 3-year-old may have a vocabulary of more than 300 hundred words, almost half the number of words adults use in everyday conversation. Children also understand more than they can say. This may cause mild frustration in your child and some verbal tumbling over words that won't come out fast enough to satisfy a preschooler's busy mind. This leads to what we call "developmental stuttering," a completely normal event unrelated to real stuttering that comes out in a small number of children close to school age. When this happens to your child, you can help her by trying to guess the word she's searching for and by not pressuring or embarrassing her.
At this age, a child should be able to make herself mostly clear to a stranger about three-quarters of the time, unless she is tired or stressed. She's adding pronouns, using them in phrases such as "you go store" rather than saying "Mommy go store." And she has probably mastered the ability to follow simple two- or even three-part directions ("Go to your room and get your sweater and your teddy."). Asking and answering questions will happen regularly, and you may even hear words used to describe past or expected future events.
Language is so critical to learning that you'd hate to miss a delay. On the other hand, there is some variation in how and when children learn to express themselves.
Language Delay Myths
You might hear other parents, teachers, even some health care providers explain language delay using reasons that have no basis in science. Common ones are:
Adapted from Encounters With Children: Pediatric Behavior and Development by Suzanne Dixon, M.D., and Martin T. Stein, M.D. (Mosby, 2000).