Two-year-olds are notoriously temperamental, but there’s much to celebrate about this age, too. DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON highlights the important milestones to look out for.
Your two-year-old is capable of so much more than she was even a few months ago. Here are some of the main milestones that you are likely to see at this age:
Her hand grip is stronger Her ability to pass and receive items manually improves, and she can pick up an item, pass it towards you and then let go once you have taken hold of it.
She can also do the same action in reverse. Initially the object might slip from her grasp at the change-over stage, but it steadily improves.
She enjoys musical instruments When you give her a toy drum or tambourine, she likes to use it to make a noise while you sing to her.
The chances are that her beats on the drum will be random, rather than rhythmical, to start with, but she gets better with practice. Moving her hand in time to music is very challenging for her.
She has a bigger vocabulary She uses a wider range of words in her everyday speech, and when she hears you use different words, she starts to do the same as well.
Try to make the language you use with your child basic but varied. Instead of using the same words each time, offer alternatives that have the same meaning, for instance, “huge” instead of “big”.
She likes pretend play Now that her imagination is more advanced, she starts to engage in pretend play, in which she puts on a hat, or clothes, or a uniform. Your child thoroughly enjoys this sort of activity because she can pretend to be a different person – chances are she’ll dress up as an adult.
She’s curious about puzzle play She is already familiar with inset boards and therefore feels confident enough to attempt unfamiliar ones with an increasing number of pieces. Give your two-year-old her first jigsaw – this should consist of only two pieces, which easily fit together and which are a good size for her small hands to manipulate.
She has enhanced recall She likes memory challenges. For example, let her see you place a newspaper on the kitchen table.
A few minutes later, when you are both in another room, pretend that you can’t remember where you left it and ask your two-year-old: “Do you know where the paper is?” She thinks for a moment, then brings it to you.
She’s developed early jumping skills When your toddler was younger and tried to jump, she literally couldn’t get her feet off the ground. Now, she manages to launch herself into the air and land safely on the same spot.
At first, the gap between the soles of her feet and the floor is minimal, but it gradually increases.
She’s more active Your little one is more adventurous during outdoor play, and she has great fun tackling large play equipment in the park.
However, she still likes you to stay close to her when she climbs higher than before – your presence makes her feel safe and secure, and gives her the confidence to explore further and higher.
She can be toilet trained By now your child probably has good bowel and bladder control during the day, and she is pleased that she now wears pants “like a big girl”.
Give her plenty of reassurance when she occasionally wets herself accidentally. Her bowel and bladder control continue to strengthen throughout this year.
She can make friends Peer group relations are more important to her now. She enjoys being with other children and you may find that she becomes bored, fractious and moody when she spends too much time on her own.
On the other hand, don’t be surprised to find that she and her friends bicker frequently, though do your best to encourage sharing.
When she was younger and tried to jump, she literally couldn’t get her feet off the ground. Now, she can launch herself into the air and land safely on the same spot.
ILLUSTRATION CHENG PUAY KOON