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2 1/2 year old - saying ummmm a lot

(7 Posts)
sooooootired Thu 06-Oct-16 11:52:10

My son is two years old, and I think on the whole his language development is quite average. However, when you ask him a question he often spends a long time going ummmmm ummmmm ummmm.... before answering. I wasn't too bothered by this (I think its quite cute) and it seems to be either when its a question that he genuinely has to think to answer - "what did you do today" otr a question he doesn't want to answer and is playing for time "do you want to wear your blue t-shirt or your red t-shirt" when he doesn't want to get dressed at all.
However, my partner has started telling him not to do it (telling of is probably to strong a word but think gently saying don't do that) when he starts. My first reaction is that our son isn't actually doing anything wrong by ummming, it isn't a swear word and he is maybe too young to expect him to think quietly. But... then I wanted to check if this is normal, and whether it is a behavior we should be correcting or not.... I am sure if an adult "ummmed" for as long it would be annoying but I was thinking it would correct itself in time on its own.

MarklahMarklah Thu 06-Oct-16 11:55:59

When my DD was that age she did similar. At the nursery she attended was a child with some speech problems, including a stutter. DD decided to copy as, at 2.5, that's what they do. We ignored it. She doesn't do it now.

Orsono Thu 06-Oct-16 12:06:33

I don't think your partner should be correcting a 2-year-old or telling him not to do something that's part of communicating. (He's communicating that he's thinking about the question - 'umm' is a word to him!) It might knock his confidence if whenever he starts to speak his Dad basically tells him not to, as he understands it. For stuff like pronunciation and sentence structure the advice is to model back to them the correct way, not to say it's wrong.

I can't remember whether my DS specifically said 'umm' at that age, but it would certainly take him a long time to say things. They're having to work it out before they speak, it's not surprising they hesitate. My 5-year-old, who is generally very articulate, can still take a while to sort a complicated sentence or idea out in his head, and often starts what he's saying again and again - Mummy? um... Mummy? .... um... Mummy? ... um...' It drives me mad, but I try not to interrupt him as he's clearly getting something straight in his head!

JennyOnAPlate Thu 06-Oct-16 12:14:01

My 6 year old still does this. I think she's just pausing for thought and trying to organise her thoughts into something coherent!

sooooootired Fri 07-Oct-16 01:16:10

Thanks for helping smile Orsono and Jenny - thats kind of what I was thinking but you expressed it better than me. And Marklah - like your DD I also think it comes from nursery, actually when I was picking him up a few weeks ago his favorite nursery worker was talking to another person and I saw her go ummm and wrinkle her nose up - exactly the same mannerism as my son but in a much less exaggerated way obviously. I thought THATS where you get that from smile Probably a good sign as it shows he's very comfortable there.

Bubbinsmakesthree Fri 07-Oct-16 02:45:02

I think cognitive abilities and language abilities develop at different speeds. At this age recall (remembering what you did earlier) and decision making (choosing between clothes) are quite big mental tasks, so the 'umming' is just a holding pattern til he's figured out a response. My DS doesn't ummm but he sometimes pauses for aaaages whilst thinking about the answer to a question.

Equally it's common to get the sort-of opposite problem when their speech isn't moving quite as fast their thinking and the develop temporary stammers or fall over their words a lot.

YokoUhOh Fri 07-Oct-16 02:55:51

He's just processing the question! I do it and I'm 35... DS1 is nearly 4 and keeps repeating the first part of his question over and over again at the moment <patient face>

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