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How do I get my 2 year old to say what he wants?

My son who turns 2 tomorrow talks up a strom but he doesn't tell us what he wants and he doesn't anser questions that we ask, like "Are you thirsty?" Do you need to go potty? He will just repeat what we say. And I would never know if he was hurt, hungry etc... because he has no words to describe his feelings, he will just cry or throw a tantrum. For a while he would say help but now won't do it anymore. He has been evaluated and they say he is fine just delayed. How do i get him to answer questions and tell us what he wants? I can see that he is getting frustrated the older he gets. I would love any and all suggestions!

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Asked by Anonymous at 2:49 PM on Apr. 1, 2010 in General Parenting

Answers (13)
  • He is probably use to you trying to figure out what he wants and finds no need to talk. You are probably pretty good at it too, I know I was, but until I started making him say what he wanted before he got it, he didn't try.

    Answer by older at 2:55 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

  • He sounds like a normal 2 year old. Just model the kind of dialogue you want/expect from him and then let him talk at his own pace. Why in the world would you have a normal 2 year old evaluated? Stop putting so much pressure on him. You are going to make him insecure about talking.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:57 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

  • I would just keep practicing with him. It may take more time, every child is different. My daughter is just about to turn 1 and alot of times when she reaches for something she wants, I tell her "Milk" "Moo" or "bite" and she is still a little young to answer but I still verbally ask her "What do you want?" and if she doesn't answer I then answer "bite" (etc.) to teach her what it is she is wanting.

    Answer by vikaroo18 at 2:57 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

  • my son isnt much of a talker. We have tried sign language and the only one which stuck is "more". I dont give him a refill of milk or water unless he signs for "more" or nicely hands me the cup (instead of throwing the cup or whining). and when he sees that he gets what he wants from communicating correctly he remembers for next time! Also, with "no", If I ask him if he wants something and he says "no" and I know he wants it, I just dont follow through till he communicates he does want it afterall (unless he whines). then I correct him and overexaggerate "oh you mean YES". It's a long process but he'll eventually understand. he gets speech therapy once a week, soon to be twice a week.

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 2:58 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

  • When I was younger my mom wouldn't give me what I was reaching for until I said the word. That does seem a little harsh in our day and time but I'm sure that works as well!

    Answer by vikaroo18 at 2:58 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

  • What I've done so far with my 2.5 year old: 

    1) Given her the vocabulary words she needs - If you see he's feeling tired or sad, just simply say "your tired," or "your sad." 

    2) Practiced - Just keep it up over time.

    3) Remind her to use her words - I have to do this a lot with my 2.5 year old, who will revert to whine and tantrum mode often, even though she knows words. I have to say "I don't understand whining; use your words."

    4) If all else fails and my girl still can't say what she wants (maybe it's a new idea she doesn't know yet) I give her my hand and say "show me," and she'll walk me to what's making her upset and put my hand towards it. 


    Answer by mogencreative at 2:59 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

  • i agree with OLDER.. but by repeating what you guys say he is learning. That's how most kids are, my godson is 3 and he still repeats what everyone says around him.. he doesn't really respond to questions that well either, but he more nods his head yes or no.. and sometimes he lies if we ask him if he went poop, he'll say yes when he didn't or no when he did... confusing, but they'll get the hang of it eventually.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:00 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

  • I'm not sure from what you are describing is going on. There are two common things that kids happen with kids this age. Some boys don't talk until they are 3. You need to be in tune with him so you know what's going on. I take care of my grandson every other day and he is 18 mo and not talking. I know what's going on with him without words and he isn't my child.

    He is also very strong willed and would have tantrums if they would do any good. I have taught him a couple of signs and that helps a lot. He claps when he likes something, does the more sign rarely, and does the thirsty sign for hungry or thirst. He refuses to learn more. If he starts having a tantrum i walk away. He has only had 2 tantrums.

    When he falls he usually doesn't cry. We have never made a big deal out of it. No rushing over to help, hugs, worries, ect. It makes it so easy. People are so impressed when we are out and about.

    Answer by Gailll at 3:00 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

  • You say use your words and if you do say, "do you want your cup?" then, repeat "cup" and do this over and over until he finally says cup. Same for everything, I know some kids whose mom was always like " Do you want this, this, this..." until he was happy. Finally, I convinced her to almost force him to say the word and you know what? He did it. Some kids prefer the grunt, point or cry method. LOL You have to make them undestand that it isn't very effective.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 3:01 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

  • Anon 2:57, he was evaluated because he has to be by law, he is a foster child, I have no control over it

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:02 PM on Apr. 1, 2010

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