Eating meals together as a family has many benefits. Mealtime is a great time to let your child tell you about her interests, concerns, and worries. Encourage your child to talk and to listen to others as they share stories and experiences. This helps your child to learn new words and keeps your family feeling close and connected. Don’t have the TV on during family meals.
You can model healthy eating by what you eat and how much you eat. Give your child chances to choose what foods to eat. Be sure to give her only healthy foods to choose from. For many children, lower fat content in milk and other dairy products is often a good idea. Ask your healthcare provider if 2% or skim milk is a good choice for your child.
Let your child feed herself. Your child will get better at using the spoon, with fewer and fewer spills. Make sure that your child’s food is not too hot.
It is very important for your child to be completely off a bottle. Ask your child’s healthcare provider for help if your child is still using one.
Spend time teaching your child how to play. Encourage imaginative play and sharing toys, but don't be surprised that 2-year-olds usually don’t 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. Don’t hurry your child's speech. Ask your healthcare provider about your child's speech if you have concerns.
Your child will learn reading skills while watching you read. She will start to figure out that printed symbols have certain meanings. Young children love to open flaps, ask questions, sing along, and make comments.
Set rules about TV watching. Limit TV and video watching to no more than 1 to 2 hours a day. If you allow TV, watch with your child and talk about the program. For the rest of the time, choose other activities, like reading, games, singing, and physical activity.
Some children at this age show signs that they are ready for toilet training. When your child tells you that she has wet or soiled diapers, it’s a sign that your child prefers to be dry. Praise your child for telling you. Young children are naturally curious about other people using the bathroom. If your child seems curious, let her 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 your child or shame your child about toilet training. When your child does use the toilet, let her know how proud you are.
At this age, children often say "no" or refuse to do what you want them to do. It’s normal for 2-year-olds to test the rules that parents make. Be consistent with rules that are not too strict and too lenient. Be gentle but firm with your child. Many parents find this age difficult, so ask your healthcare provider for advice on managing behavior.
Here are some good ways to help your child learn about rules:
Don’t send your child to their room for time-outs. A bedroom should not feel like a place of punishment.
Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have questions about discipline or need help with behavior problems.
It’s important to take care of your child’s baby teeth because they help your child chew food and speak clearly. They also help save space for the permanent teeth that will come in later. You can help care for your child’s teeth by following these tips:
Child-Proofing Your Home
Fires and Burns
Immunizations protect your child against several serious, life-threatening diseases. Your child should get a flu shot every year. Your child’s healthcare provider will let you know if your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations. Be sure to bring your child's shot record to all visits with your provider.
A checkup at 2 1/2 years is recommended.