You asked

What can I do to encourage my two-year old to use sentences?

By the age of two, children are able to start using two word sentences, or repeat bits of phrases that you say. Once your child gets the first couple of phrases correct, there will be many more attempts at proper sentences as the year goes by. Soon, all baby-talk will be gone and only real words, or attempts at real words will be spoken by your child.

To encourage your child to use sentences instead of single words, expand on the phrase your child says. Very often this will be a request for food, pointing out objects, or identifying bodily features. Do not try to correct grammar yet, especially when irregular verbs or tenses are wrong. Rather repeat the sentence correctly, but do not inform your child of the mistakes.

Constant prompting to use a phrase in a full sentence will not encourage your child to do so. Instead, it will interrupt the normal flow of thought and cause frustration. When you read to your child, or watch television, make the experience interactive, by commenting and asking your child questions about what is going on in the story or on the screen.

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