Toddlers: 24 Months+

speach delay or just shy?

My son is 24 months old and says only about 20-30 overall. Sometimes he may say something and then never say it again. Other words, like airplane, he will say all the time. On the other hand, he understands everything, and can follow very precise directions like "please go get the yellow magnet that is on the fridge in the kitchen and give it to daddy". I mentionned my concern in daycare (where I constantly see tiny babies chatting away) and they said they would pay attention and give me a feedback on the issue. Today they told me not to worry cause my son talks a lot with the other babies, although not to them grown ups, probably because he is shy! Is that normal? I was really happy to know he could talk, but concerned about this shyness. Should he be shy towards his momma? that is kind of sad to hear... anyone relate to this? any ideas on how to get him confident enough to talk to me?

Re: speach delay or just shy?

  • I don't remember how many words they're supposed to have at that age, but I would talk to his pediatrician and make sure he is on track.  My daughter has always gone through vocabulary explosions where it seems like overnight she can suddenly say and understand a lot more.

    I wouldn't worry about the shyness thing.  For all you know the daycare providers are hearing him say the same things as you, and his "talking" to the other kids could just be him babbling. 

    Other than talk to his pedi, just keep talking to him.  Verbalize things you are doing, and ask him specifics on how is day was (if he played with friends, what he had for lunch, etc.).  Good luck!


  • My son has gone through extremely shy phases over and over. I wouldn't worry that he is shy towards YOU exactly but it wouldn't hurt to call the Pedi and ask their opinion or make an appt with the Pedi to sit down in person and talk. Kids are weird dude. They do weird things and often their behaviors are totally different at daycare than they are at home or vice versa.

    And if your LO is shy by nature, then there's not much you can do about it. He's young though and this will probably pass before you even figure out what the "problem" is.

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  • Put your mind to rest and visit a speech language pathologist for an evaluation. Treatment can be traditional weekly visits or a shorter stint of training for you and your son's caregivers on how to stimulate language. Check it out.
  • My son was exactly like this. Our daycare told us not to worry that he clearly understood what they asked, responded when he had to. At about 2.5 his language exploded and he went from 20 or so words to full sentences non-stop. He skipped the shorter sentence-phase I saw the other kids in his class doing completely. He's still shy but talking a ton when he's comfortable. Just keep an eye on it and give it more time.
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