How can I teach my 2.5 yr old boy imitate words?

He doesnt know any words yet, so when he tries to communicate with me he only says ahh ah ahhh..or cries in frustration. I read to him (prob not enough), I try to make him imitate the way my mouth moves making diff sounds or words but he doesnt really try to sound out anything. He occasionally makes sounds like mamamamm, goygoygudgud. The only time I recall him trying to imitate me saying poop he made a "pffu" blowing sound.


If he has no understandable words, or sounds he makes consistently which mean certain things, it is time for an evaluation with a speech and hearing specialist. Talk to his doctor for a referral. In the meantime, you can teach him some basic signs to reduce frustration: Since you do read to him, read more (at least three books per day). Don't try to make him repeat words, just read to him. Also engage him in conversation as you go throughout the day and include him in the things you do which will also teach him words. For instance, if you are doing laundry, say something like "Let's put the socks in the washer. Can you hand me a sock? Yep, there is a sock. Can you hand me a blue sock? That's a green one, can you find a blue one? Yes, that's it." In doing that, not only does he like interacting with you, but he is learning words - sock, blue, green, which will add to his receptive language.


This little guy's speech development is lagging enough behind that he needs some intervention to catch up. First stop is his pediatrician, for a hearing test and an overall wellness check which may include developmental screening to make sure he's on target for other developmental milestones. If there's no physical cause found for the speech delay, you'll probably be referred to a speech-language pathologist, who can do further checks for any reasons he's not yet saying words and offer you strategies to help him get there. Delays like this are not panic time, just do-something time.

Trevor H

Does your child regularly play with other children of his own age who are able to communicate properly? We found with our first child , who was also a little slow in speaking - that when he started mixing with other children is a relaxed/ play environment he started to speak understandably quite quickly.


Get him to a doctor and have his hearing checked. If the hearing is ok, then pretend you're a grownup. Be his mother. Children learn to talk by hearing and using speech. TALK TO THE KID. Don't try to make him imitate you. Have a conversation. Ask him what he wants to eat. Tell him what you're doing, what color stuff is, where you're going in the car. Ask questions. Wait for answers. He'll get there.

Suzy Q

If your 2.5 year old doesn't use any words yet, it's not a matter of reading a few more books. This is a severe language delay, you need to get him evaluated. Start by going to his pediatrician (haven't they noticed this delay during regular checkups?) they should be able to give you the referrals you need. Usually the first step would be to test your child's hearing. I wholeheartedly second the advice to look into baby sign language. It's not just for babies, it can really help some toddlers who have a speech delay communicate. My youngest was around your child's age when he went from a vocabulary of three words to several hundred signs in a matter of months. I remember one day my non-verbal child and his older brother were having a furious discussion about whether fish could be red, with half the conversation happening in signs. I don't think any parent has ever been so happy about their kids having a fight.


1. Use books called picture dictionary/first animals dictionary, etc. Sit down at bedtime and 1-2 times daily, pointing to pics in the book, saying the word, clearly. 2. Be sure he is responding to noises and commands. Consult your pediatrician if needed. 3. Label things by pointing to objects and stating it's name. 4. Give him choices with simple commands: Do you want the RED cup or the BLUE cup? Do you want to play with the TRUCK or the CAR? Umm, APPLES, I like APPLES! (Pointing to or holding one). Your son cannot learn by just following you around, observing normal dialog or speech because emphasis isn't places on specific words or directions, many people don't speak clearly, and he needs to understand actual communication. Unfortunately, showing him your your mouth works won't do too much, although showing certain sounds may elicit copy-cat noises. Dr. Seuss books will be helpful, too. This is work, and you job is every day! Use brief sentences, easily copied: Yum, apples.