What is happening at this stage?
Your baby is a toddler now, exploring the world and learning new things every day. Most children at this age talk quite a bit by putting two or more words together. They’re able to communicate to parents and family members, although it may be difficult for strangers to understand them.
A two-year old can sometimes be challenging for parents because of the appearance of living a contradiction. They like to be independent and do things themselves while at the same time clinging on the parents. The same child who cling to you one minute, the next minute he or she pushes away from you.
This stage has been called “the terrible twos.” Your seemingly good behavior baby might turn into a tantrum-throwing little creature all of a sudden. What parents need to remember is that toddler tantrums are common. It’s a child’s way to express frustration. This is especially true since they are able to comprehend more than they are able to communicate.
So what are some of toddler milestones we can look for at this stage? Most children will enjoy running, climbing stairs, or learning how to jump. Two-years-old are able to use a spoon and cup. They are eager to “help out” with daily chores that parents do. A typical two-year old has a vocabulary of at least 20 words and uses some 2-word phrases.
As far as physical development is concern, the child’s growth in weight and height is going to be slower over the next several years. This may mean they’re pickier in what they eat.
The average child puts on only about 4 pounds (1.8 kg) per year. As long as you provide them three balanced and healthy meals for your toddlers, do not overly worry if they eat not as much as they used to. Still, you need to trust your parental instinct. If you see other symptoms that suggest your child is not well, consult your doctor immediately.
Children of this age develop a lot of new skills. Most children enjoy running and learning how to jump. Climbing on things and upstairs is great fun. Two-year-olds enjoy kicking and throwing a ball. They usually are able to use a spoon and cup. They can help take off their clothes and try to help wash themselves. They can learn to wash their hands at this age. They can also learn to blow their noses. They like to mimic housework that parents do.
Two year olds usually have a vocabulary of at least 20 words and use some 2 word phrases. They can follow a 2-partcommand. As your child gets closer to 3 years old, short sentences become more common. Some interest in toilet training may begin around age 2 to 2½.
The Importance of Well Child Exams
Well child exams can help to follow your child’s growth, development and to detect health problems. Developmental or behavior problems are looked at as well as toddler nutrition and safety issues. At some visits, immunizations against preventable diseases are given. Regular well child exams are an important part of keeping a child healthy.
Your doctor can also give well-targeted advice at the appropriate child development stages. Here are a few things to check when your child is two years old.
A child this age should now be drinking from a cup instead of bottles. Drinking from a bottle can lead to tooth decay. Do not give your child more than 3 cups of milk or 1 cup of fruit juice a day. Encourage drinking water throughout the day.
Avoid battles over eating, it’s a futile attempt and parents never win. Offer good healthy food at every meal and snack time for your toddler. Parents need to realize a child cannot be forced to eat, but they can only take from the selections that we offer them. Consult your doctor for vitamin supplement if necessary.
Try to brush your child’s teeth at least once a day. Use only a small bit of toothpaste without fluoride. More and more parents are opting for toothpaste with organic ingredients nowadays and it’s certainly a good choice to have. Your child should have a dental exam every 6 months. Talk to your dentist about fluoride and sealants for your child.
Try to distract your child to another activity when the child is about to have a tantrum. If it doesn’t work, ignore it. Children do not generally hurt themselves when they have tantrums, even if they throw themselves down on the ground. It’s important not to reward tantrums.
Children are quick learners. If the parents gives in to a tantrum or gets angry, the child will use tantrums more often to get something they want. Tantrums, not rewarded will go away faster and be less frequent.
Parents can cut down the incidents of tantrums by not going places when a child is tired. In the event when a child hits you during a tantrum (or at any other times), that’s when it should not be ignored.
Use a “time out” room or chair to discipline a toddler that misbehave. Leave your child in the room or chair for 2 to 3 minutes. Spanking is generally not suggested, and even illegal in some countries. Regardless where you are, one principle that’s important. Never spank a child out of anger. Even other forms of discipline are best carried out when the parent can keep a cool head.
At this point, some children are ready for toilet training. Several things have to happen first though. Your child’s nervous system, bladder, and bowel muscles need to be mature enough to have control. He or she must understand what’s going on when passing a bowel movement or urine and has to be able to hold and relax the muscles. It is also important that during this process, your child is not pressured since he or she needs to be able to relax the muscles it takes to use the toilet. If your child gets upset over the toilet training, it’s perfectly fine to stop for a couple months before you try again.
Another safety precaution you need to pay attention to is that the toilet seat should be small enough so your child does not feel afraid of falling in. The feet should also be supported when sitting on the toilet. Praise your child when he’s successful however do not use force or use punishment when he fails.
Teach your child to wash hands after using the potty and also clean the training seat after each use.
Reading to your child will help develop language skills. Spend time talking and playing with each child, don’t forget to hug and cuddle as well. Touch is important to a child. TV should be off limit if that’s not possible try to limit the time to less than an hour a day. Make sure your child only watches shows appropriate for this age. Talk about the shows with your child. Have a regular bedtime and follow the same bed routine every night.
Health and Safety Warnings
As the physical activity of your child increases, danger will be lurking around every corner. Safety issue is more important than ever. At this age, accidents are the leading cause of death among children. You must make every effort to make your home childproof. Try to see your home from your toddler’s point of view (from bottom to up). In the same way you distract a child from throwing a tantrum, you need to do the same when your child is doing something that could be harmful. Praise your child when a dangerous object is avoided.
Here are some other safety tips you may find useful:
Keep small objects or hard pieces of food away from your child for potential choking hazards.
Lock away household cleaners, bug sprays, medications, vitamins and alcohol for poisoning risks. With that, always have poison control phone number handy.
Watch your child when interacting with pets. Children should not be near pets that are eating.
Keep unused electrical outlets covered.
Keep your child in an approved child car seat. Booster seats or seat belts are not safe at this age. Your child should always sit in the back seat. Make sure the car seat is securely buckled down and your child is properly strapped into the seat. Never leave a child alone in a car.
Teething does not cause fever, runny nose, or diarrhea. Call your doctor if your child has these symptoms. It may be signs of an infection. Keep cigarette or other smoke away from your child. Smoking around your child increases the risk of ear infections and lung problems.
Block any access to stairs, refrigerators, windows and railings, or any large equipment. Use gates at the top and bottom of your stairs. Use window guards. Open accessible windows at the top rather than the bottom. Always look for ways to protect your child from falls.
Never leave your child unattended in a bath or pool. It only takes a few inches of water for a child to drown.
Make sure your hot water tank setting is 120° F (49° C) or lower to prevent hot water burns. Use smoke alarms in your house.
Do not handle hot liquids like coffee or tea while carrying or playing with your toddler. Their sudden move will not allow you enough time to react accordingly.
Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, and tools out of reach of children.
Use a good sunblock whenever your child is in the sun and put a hat to protect the head and eyes.
Talk to your doctor about lead hazards, especially if you live in an older home.
These are by no means an exhaustive list of what parents need to do to keep their child safe, but you get the idea. Childproofing methods need to be adjusted as the child gets older and learns the way around.