Your 2-year-old is spirited, delightful, joyful, carefree, challenging and sometimes trying! Although families may be frustrated when their 2-year-old cannot successfully communicate his or her needs, helping your child master the use of language can be rewarding for both the family and the child. Let’s look at some of the major Two Year Old Milestones.
The 2-year-old is learning to be sociable but is not yet skilled at interacting with other children. Rather than sharing, he or she engages in parallel play alongside his or her peers. The 2-year-old cannot be expected to sit in a circle with other children or listen to a long story. These abilities will develop between the ages of 2 and 3.
The 2-year-old enjoys feeding himself or herself, reading a book, and imitating his or her parents doing household chores. Watching your2 year old go through his or her daily routine can be amusing. To fully understand new activities, he or she tries them repeatedly. What happens when water gets splashed outside the tub? How far will the
teddy bear fall down the stairs? What does mud feel like? Sometimes parents find it difficult to realize that your child’s repetitious explorations are compelled by curiosity rather than a rejection of
Although the 2-year-old seems determined to assert his or her independence, when he or she is presented with a choice, for example, between orange juice and apple juice, he or she usually ceases his or her activity and has a difficult time choosing. After finally making a decision, he or she often wants to change it. Despite his or her apparent yearning for independence, your 2-year-old frequently hides behind your legs when approached by other adults. Your 2 year old may develop fears at this age. He or she may be afraid of going down the drain along with the bath water or of being eaten by monsters underneath the bed. With parental reassurance, your child gains more confidence and overcomes his or her fears.
At this age, many of the child’s actions are still governed by his or her parents’ reactions. He or she has learned what to do to get his or her parents to respond, either negatively or positively, and may play one against the other. He or she will throw tantrums to get his or her way if he or she knows that his or her parents will react strongly. Similarly, if his or her parents overreact when he or she has difficulty expressing himself or herself clearly, this normal phase of speech development may be prolonged.
At age 2, your child is ready to be taught simple rules about safety and behavior in the family, but this is only beginning for him or her to be able to internalize them. Parents who provide gentle reassurance, calmly and consistently maintain limits despite repeated tantrums, and reinforce positive behaviors help their child begin to develop healthy self-confidence and social skills.
Developmental Milestones for 2 Year Old
- Can go up and down stairs one step at a time
- Can kick a ball
- Can stack five or six blocks
- Has vocabulary of at least 20 words
- Uses two-word phrases
- Makes or imitates horizontal and circular
- strokes with crayon
- Can follow two-step commands
- Imitates adults
Serve your child three nutritious meals a day. Provide a highchair or booster seat at table height during family mealtimes. Make mealtimes pleasant and companionable. Encourage conversation.
Give your child two or three planned nutritious snacks a day. Be sure the snacks are rich in complex carbohydrates, and limit sweets and high-fat snacks. Offer your child a variety of nutritious foods, particularly those containing iron, and let him or her decide what and how much to eat. Children will eat a lot one time, not much the next.
Begin to serve your child low-fat dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose the menu, do not let your child dictate it. Most children will eat a considerable variety of foods.
Enforce reasonable mealtime behavior, but do not force eating. Let your child experiment with food. Provide eating utensils that are easy to use and the appropriate size for your child’s hands. Avoid engaging in struggles about eating.
Be sure that your child’s caregiver provides nutritious foods.
Promotion of Social Competence
- Praise your child for good behavior and accomplishments.
- Model appropriate language. Encourage your child’s language development by reading books and singing songs to him, and by talking about what you and he are seeing and doing together.
- Spend individual time with your child, playing with him or her, hugging or holding him or her, taking walks, painting, and doing puzzles together.
- Appreciate your child’s investigative nature, and avoid excessively restricting his or her explorations.
- Guide him or her through fun learning experiences.
- Promote physical activity in a safe environment.
- Encourage parallel play with other children, but do not expect shared play yet.
- Give your child opportunities to assert himself.
- Encourage self-expression.
- Promote a sense of competence and control by inviting your child to make choices whenever possible. (Be sure you can live with the choices, e.g., “red pants or blue?”).
- Reinforce limits and appropriate behavior. Try to be consistent in expectations and discipline.
- Use “time out” or remove the source of conflict for unacceptable behavior. Learn how to respond to your child’s needs without giving in to every wish or becoming upset and reacting negatively to his constant questions and physical activity.
- Prepare strategies to deal with night waking, night fears, and nightmares.
- Encourage self-quieting behaviors such as quiet play or the use of a transitional object (e.g., favorite toy or blanket).
- Recognize that toilet training is part of developmentally appropriate learning.
Promote toilet training when your child is dry for periods of about 2 hours, knows the difference between wet and dry, can pull his or her pants up and down, wants to learn, and can indicate when he or she is about to have a bowel movement.
Two Year Old Milestones above are just some of the guide lines. Each child is different. Your Two Year Old Milestones may vary.