2 years old
WHAT TO EXPECT
Your little one would have started to talk by now and is curious and inquisitive, says Dr Cynthia Lim, a senior lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
He is physically active and keen to explore the world around him. At this age, he can also point to pictures in books and make connections between these and real-life objects.
He enjoys make-believe play and his symbolic understanding is developing – for example, he may hold up a banana to his ear and pretend it’s a phone.
Two- year-olds aren’t aware of some of the dangers associated with playing, so you have to keep a close watch on them, Dr Lim says.
They may want to do things on their own, but they’re also dependent on you, so it’s important to try and strike a balance between the two.
“Other parenting challenges include learning how to handle your two-year- old child’s temper tantrums, dealing with separation anxiety, and introducing them to new activities, foods and experiences,” adds Dr Low Kah Tzay, a paediatrician at Pediatric Doctor by Anson International Paediatric & Child Development Clinic.
BOOST YOUR KID’S DEVELOPMENT
Social interaction with adults is crucial because this is how they learn, says Dr Lim.
It’s also important to do things with them rather than just show or tell them what to do. At this age, you should let your child play freely and explore nature.
“As your child is picking up new words every day, I suggest talking to him normally instead of using baby talk,” says Dr Lim.
“And limit his use of mobile devices as excessive use may impede his language and social development – these are ﬁne once in a while if you interact with him using the device as joint engagement rather than as a babysitting tool.”
Dr Low suggests building blocks, shape sorters, and toys that he can manipulate and use to create other objects.
WHEN TO SEEK HELP
While your toddler should be starting to talk at two, don’t be too quick to label him as having learning delays, as children develop at different rates.
If he doesn’t seem to be saying much, continue to talk with, interact and engage him in things he is interested in and just keep an eye on his speech development, says Dr Lim.
“It would be concerning if your child isn’t gesturing at people and objects and doesn’t respond when you try to interact with him,” she adds. “And you may wish to seek help if he’s not running or walking at this age.”
In addition, while not a real problem, look out for signs of overstimulation in your child, especially if your family has a hectic lifestyle and your child is constantly on the go, Dr Lim says.
An overscheduled child may show signs of tiredness and fussiness and may be more easily prone to illness. Some kids are also more sensitive to sensory overload like big crowds, loud noises and bright lights – they are easily distressed.
What you need to know about Global Development Delay
According to Dr Low Kah Tzay, a paediatrician at Pediatric Doctor by Anson International Paediatric & Child Development Clinic, child development is divided into four aspects:
GROSS MOVEMENT such as walking, jumping and running.
FINE MOVEMENT such as holding a spoon or a pen and handling buttons and zips.
LANGUAGE Being able to say words or form sentences.
SOCIAL Knowing how to interact and socially adapt, knowing when to be silent, and being able to pay attention, take turns and share.
“Global development is when there’s a delay in all these four areas,” Dr Low says. “It signiﬁes a serious medical condition and should be assessed to work out whether it is static or progressive.”
Treatment may include dealing with any underlying medical conditions, speech therapy for language, physiotherapy for movement, occupational therapy for ﬁne movement or organisation, and behavioural therapy for social adaptation, Dr Low adds.
See a paediatrician if you suspect that your kid has this condition.