My Toddler Isn’t Talking Yet – Should I Be Worried?

My little boy turned two last May and is coming up to his 28th month. He dances and sings, he loves to play with trains and cars, really anything with wheels! He likes to colour, put his own shoes on, and climb mountains.

My toddler just doesn’t talk yet.

Should I be worried?

According to most of the information found in popular child development books and on the internet, YES, I definitely should.

Baby Centre says that my child should have around 50 words in his current vocabulary. No wait! The Ontario Government says my child should have 100 words in his vocabulary by 24 months. Parenting claims that my child’s lack of combining words together is a red flag.

And that’s only three of the 2.85 million Google results.

But somehow I’m sitting here shrugging my shoulders at it all.

photo 1-1

This little boy may not be able to “use his words” when asking for something, but he’ll have the noisiest conversations with his teddy bears. He’ll chat your ear off in the car, and tell you stories about his cars, complete with actions and exciting sound effects – if we only knew what he was saying!

His ‘receptive language‘, or his comprehensive and listening skills, are great. He understands simple commands like picking something up, getting a toy for his sister, or putting on his shoes because we have to go to the car. He knows where most of his body parts are, but his cheeks, his nose, and his belly button are his favourite to point to.

My two-year old toddler says the following often and quite clearly: Go, Dada, Mama, Shoes, Nom-nom (when he likes to eat something), Bal (for balloon or ball), Cool, Wow, Uh-Oh and Yeah.

He shakes his head no, he giggles at funny faces and jokes, he’ll wave hello and goodbye, and his response to his sister taking his toy is a cringe-worthy scream. If I tell him that it’s bedtime, he runs to his daddy to protect him from bed!

Quite honestly, he can understand us and he tries to communicate with us – so what’s the issue?

photo 3-1

I’m not overly concerned about my ‘late-talker’, yet I’m constantly finding myself defending him in conversations with other moms, which sometimes end with recommendations for speech therapists in the city.

Call it mother’s intuition. A gut feeling. But something deep inside is telling me to not worry about this. Something is guiding me and telling me that he will talk, when he’s ready, and that the extra stress of worrying about it will do no good.

Children all develop differently, and I see it right in front of my eyes every day. My daughter, who spoke her first words at 9 months and hasn’t stopped talking since, and my son who is communicating to us in his own way.

I continue to read different stories to him, I describe the actions we are doing to him, and I see him listening. He’s just processing the world in his own way.

And so, we wait.

Join the Conversation

22 thoughts on “My Toddler Isn’t Talking Yet – Should I Be Worried?

  1. You are completely right….children develop differently. I have a friend with a 2 year old son who says maybe 3 words and yet he’s totally normal. Boys especially can take longer to reach milestones. The range for what is “normal” for small children is SO huge. I’ve hard that by kindergarten is when kids will catch up to each other and pretty much be on the same page. You’re right to not worry. 🙂 Mama knows best, right?

  2. Your little guy sounds just like my 2 1/2 year old – she talks up a storm, is expressive, and understands everything we say, but only recently she has started to string together more than 2 English words at a time.

    My 7 year old was speaking in full sentences by 18 months, and I too feel that language with my youngest isn’t a concern – every child develops at different speeds. Ignore comments from other Moms because others will always have opinions and judgements. Keep trusting your own intuition.

  3. It’s always hard when you’re baby doesn’t hit a milestone but everyday is different. I heard an easy tip is to wait a month or two on a milestone then visit your doctor for a referral to a specialist if need be. Great post!

  4. It sounds to me like you are listening to your child and that there aren’t any other glaring issues.

    As for the other Mothers, I’m sure that they mean well but I’m sure that their “advice” can be tiring and unsolicited.

    A Mother knows.

    I look forward to hearing about all your son’s successes; verbal and otherwise.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

  5. I completely agree with you about trusting your instincts and letting your son begin speaking full sentences when he is ready. My neighbors have a 15 month old whose pediatrician recommended they take her to a speech therapist! Parents these days are so focused on the milestone ages, but really those markers are not one size fits all. Every child develops at extremely differing paces. Two is still a young age and he has plenty of time to put his communication into words. Good for you for trusting that all is well!
    Stopping by via Turn It Up Tuesday. 🙂

  6. You know what’s best, mama! If you decide that you do want help or a pro’s opinion, Parents as Teachers has been my go to resource for most developmental things. I’m not a speech pathologist, but if he’s a happy and communicative kid, it sounds like he’s on the right track to me!

  7. Found your blog through BYBMG and I just wanted to say…your post has never been truer. My son is the EXACT same way. He just turned two in July and doesn’t talk. I know he understands, as he shows us everyday. He knows some signs and knows how to use them properly and is able to communicate a little that way. But I can tell he’s frustrated. We have enrolled him in speech therapy and he now goes to preschool at the same place he has therapy so I’m hoping that it will help. But like you said, the judgements and the comments…I hate it. I am the one who is with my son everyday and I know him the best. He’s been delayed a little at each milestone so I know it’s coming. One day. He will just surprise us and start talking and not stopping. But until then, we wait and help as much as we can.

  8. I’m in the same boat right now! My son is going to turn two in January, and he doesn’t talk. He babbles like crazy, and knows how to do simple commands. He took a while to walk too, which of course was also frustrating for both of us. But I’m trying to keep my cool, and keep telling myself he’ll talk when he’s ready.