Family meals are important for your child. They teach your child that eating is a time to be together and talk with others. Letting your child eat with you makes her feel like part of the family. Let your child feed herself. Your toddler will get better at using the spoon, with fewer and fewer spills. It is good to let your child help choose what foods to eat. Be sure to give her only healthy foods to choose from. For many children, this is the time to switch from whole milk to 2% milk. Televisions should never be on during mealtime.
It is very important for your child to be completely off a bottle. Ask your doctor for help if she is still using one.
Spend time teaching your child how to play. Encourage imaginative play and sharing of toys, but don't be surprised that 2-year-olds usually do not want to share toys with anyone else.
Mild stuttering is common at this age. It usually goes away on its own by the age of 4 years. Do not hurry your child's speech. Ask your doctor about your child's speech if you are worried.
Some children at this age are showing signs that they are ready for toilet training. When your child starts reporting wet or soiled diapers to you, this is a sign that your child prefers to be dry. Praise your child for telling you. Toddlers are naturally curious about other people using the bathroom. If your child seems curious, let him go to the bathroom with you. Buy a potty chair and leave it in a room in which your child usually plays. It is important not to put too many demands on the child or shame the child about toilet training. When your child does use the toilet, let him know how proud you are.
At this age, children often say "no" or refuse to do what you want them to do. This normal phase of development involves testing the rules that parents make. Parents need to be consistent in following through with reasonable rules. Your rules should not be too strict or too lenient. Enforce the rules fairly every time. Be gentle but firm with your child even when the child wants to break a rule. Many parents find this age difficult, so ask your doctor for advice on managing behavior.
Here are some good methods for helping children learn about rules:
Children learn reading skills while watching you read. They start to figure out that printed symbols have certain meanings. Young children love to participate directly with you and the book. They like to open flaps, ask questions, and make comments. It is important to set rules about television watching. Limit TV and video to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day. If you allow TV, watch with your child and discuss. Choose other activities instead of TV, such as reading, games, singing, and physical activity.
After 12 months of age, your child should be seen by a dentist every 6 months or as often as the dentist recommends.
You can also help your child by following these tips:
Child-proof the home. Go through every room in your house and remove anything that is either valuable, dangerous, or messy. Preventive child-proofing will stop many possible discipline problems. Don't expect a child not to get into things just because you say no.
Fires and Burns
Routine infant vaccinations are usually completed before this age. However some children may need to catch up on recommended shots at this visit. An annual influenza shot is recommended for children up until 18 years of age. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about whether your child needs any vaccines.
A check-up at 2 1/2 years is recommended. Before starting school your child will need more vaccinations. Bring your child's shot card to all visits.