There are few children who are speaking in full sentences by the time they are 18 to 24 months.
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By Sue Hubbard, M.D.
Is your child a precocious talker? Most children start to acquire words around 12 to 15 months, but that means five to 10 words and building. By the time children are 18 months old, they are often mimicking when you ask them to say a word, and some are putting two words together. This is all very normal development. But there are few children who are just "early talkers," who are speaking in full sentences by the time they are 18 to 24 months!
I think having such a verbal child during the early toddler years is, as they say, a blessing and a curse. I know that from raising my own children. My oldest was quite verbal by 20 months and bossing us around before age 2! I also see this same dilemma in my little patients. While some parents are worried that their 2-year-olds don't put three to four words together, others want to know how you can stop the chatter. Parents ... we always have issues.
Here's an example: When I come into the exam room for a 2-year-old's checkup, the precocious talker looks up and says, "Hi, Dr. Sue! What took you so long?" Or they may tell their parent that they "don't need any help" as I ask them to climb on the exam table. Recently a little boy looked right at his mother and said, "I've got this," when I asked him to take off his shoes.
On another day a little girl was impatient to leave and kept asking her mother if they could go to the park after they left my office. The mother kept telling the little girl, "maybe." Finally, exasperated, the 2 year old said, "What's the answer, yes or no?"
How do you keep a straight face?
A verbal child can bring you to your knees, both laughing and sometimes wanting to cry. How can a 2-year-old know just what to say to make a parent feel inadequate? Is it inborn? This seems to be especially true if you have had another child and the 2-year-old is instructing you on how to parent "their baby."
If your child is a talker, write down all of those clever sentences blurted out. One day you will look back and laugh. I often saw myself in my 2-year-old as he told complete strangers , "My mommy says my baby brother cries all of the time, and he has colic!" Out of the mouth of babes, and I still remember it. Bittersweet.
Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award-winning pediatrician, medical editor and media host. “The Kid’s Doctor” TV feature can be seen on more than 90 stations across the U.S. Submit questions at http://www.kidsdr.com. The Kid’s Doctor e-book, “Tattoos to Texting: Parenting Today’s Teen,” is now available from Amazon and other e-book vendors.
This was printed in the May 1, 2016 - May 14, 2016 edition.