AGES & STAGES -
Two-year-olds like to be independent! Favorite words are "Mine"
and "No" and "I do it!" Emotions take on a roller
coaster-like quality as 2-year-olds can go from excitement to anger to
laughter within a few moments. A great deal of time is spent exploring,
pushing, pulling, filling, dumping, and touching.
Two-year-olds are surer of themselves and of what they can do as they
grow. Their bodies stretch out, and most will lose the potbellied look
during this third year of life. Their appetites lessen, and they may be
particular about food. They are still growing fairly rapidly.
Toddlers are very attached to their caregivers. You may find them trying
out new ideas and exploring their surroundings, but still staying close to
you as they need a base of support and trust. Two-year-olds are usually
interested in other children. However, social interest and physical
abilities sometimes collide as a hug becomes a tackle and a gentle pat
becomes a whack. You will need to teach children how to express affection
- weight: 22-38 pounds
- height: 32-40 inches
- has almost a full set of teeth
- walks up and down stairs by holding onto railing
- feeds self with spoon
- experiments by touching, smelling, and tasting
- likes to push, pull, fill, and dump
- can turn pages of a book
- stacks 4-6 objects
- scribbles vigorously with crayons or markers
- many children (but not all) will learn to use toilet
- walks without help
- walks backwards
- tosses or rolls a large ball
- stoops or squats
- opens cabinets, drawers
- can bend over to pick up toy without falling
- enjoys simple stories, rhymes, and songs
- uses 2-3 word sentences
- says names of toys
- hums or tries to sing
- enjoys looking at books
- points to eyes, ears, or nose when asked
- repeats words
- interested in learning how to use common items
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
- plays alongside others more than with
- acts shy around strangers
- likes to imitate parents
- easily frustrated
- affectionate - hugs and kisses
- insists on trying to do several tasks without help
- enjoys simple make-believe like talking on phone, putting on hat
- very possessive - offers toys to other children but then wants them back
- needs considerable time to change activities
- capable of frequent tantrums, which are often a result of his inability
to express himself even though he has ideas
- can show aggressive behavior and the intent to hurt others
- can be extremely demanding and persistent
- destructive to objects around him when frustrated and angry
- possessive about caregiver's attention; show feelings of jealousy
- has fears and nightmares
- has sense of humor; capable of laughter
- shows interest in dressing, brushing hair and teeth
- cannot sit still or play with a toy for more than a few minutes
IDEAS FOR CAREGIVERS
- Baby-proof your house again.
Two-year-olds are taller and more skillful at opening doors and
getting into mischief.
- Read aloud to children every day.
Encourage toddlers to look at books with large pictures and sturdy
pages. Simple story lines are best.
- Try to expand a 2-year-old's knowledge
of words and sentence structure. Let her hear the correct word order,
but don't demand that she imitate you. For example, if she says
"more juice," say "Anna wants more orange juice."
- Encourage them to identify noises like
vacuum, tap water, dogs barking, thunder, airplane, and car.
- Let toddlers help you with simple chores
such as picking up toys or putting clothes in the laundry basket.
Encourage them to name things that you are using.
- Add new information to what a child is
saying. "Yes that's a blanket, a soft, warm blanket."
- Give toddlers clear and simple choices.
"Do you want to drink milk or juice? Do you want to wear green or
- Know how to handle a temper tantrum:
1. don't yell or hit the child,
2. remain calm,
3. talk in soothing tone,
4. put your hand gently on child's arm if possible.
- Provide newspaper, flattened grocery
sacks, and computer scraps for drawing and painting. Color books,
workbooks, and ditto sheets are not recommended.
- Avoid making models of clay or drawing
pictures for children to copy. They learn more by working out their
own ideas, and adult-induced items can actually hinder learning.
- Do not expect toddlers to share or take
turns. Right now they are focused on learning how to physically handle
themselves and on learning to talk. Learning to share will come later.
- Provide spaces where toddlers can spend
time alone. An old cardboard box or a blanket over a card table works
- Avoid pressuring children to be right or
left handed. A few 2-year- olds will begin to show preference for one
hand, but many children will continue to use both hands for a few
- Provide safe outlets for physical
activity and space exploration like small steps, boxes, barrels,
tires, pulling and pushing toys, ride-on and ride-in toys.
- Provide opportunities for learning about
cause and effect by giving toddlers many opportunities to fill, dump,
collect, gather, give, hide, and seek.
- Play "parade" or "follow
the leader." Sing sequential songs like "Old MacDonald"
to explain sequences.
- Encourage verbal skills by giving simple
directions like "Close the door, please" or "Would you
pick up the doll?"
- Encourage a toddler's love for imitation
by teaching fingerplays and songs. Play "you are a mirror."
Stand or sit facing the children and have them copy everything you do.
Reverse roles and let the child lead while you mirror the actions.
- Encourage sand, mud, clay, and water
play. Toddlers enjoy messy play and learn a great deal from mixing,
sifting, pouring, stirring, and shaping.
Reprinted with permission from National
Network for Child Care -NNCC.
Oesterreich, L. (1995). Ages & stages - two-year-olds. In L.
Oesterreich, B. Holt, & S. Karas, Iowa family child care
[Pm 1541] (pp. 199-201). Ames, IA: Iowa State University Extension.