Children's Age-by-Age Guide: 2 Years Old
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Children's Age-by-Age Guide: 2 Years Old

Testing your authority and chattering are trademarks of 2-year-olds. Find out if the "terrible twos" really are.

Physical Milestones


Your baby is becoming a toddler now. She'll grow about 2 1/2 inches taller and gain about 4 pounds this year. She will drink from a cup with one hand, and eat finger foods all by herself. She'll run and walk with confidence, pull wheeled toys around with boundless energy, walk up and down stairs safely, delight in dancing to music and negotiate around obstacles. She'll continue to gain more and more control over her hands.

Smart Strategy:

You need to continue to watch your child closely, but for different issues now-her energy may put her in danger (for example, she may be so wrapped up in play that she'll run into the street). Dedicate safe places for her to play-put a mat out for her to tumble on, clear space so she can run and dance around freely. Trips to the park or playground provide great play options now. Introduce her to toys that she can ride and climb on such as a tricycle or climbing tower.

Developmental Milestones

Your toddler wants to be dry and clean now, and will learn the appropriate words to say when he's peeing and pooping -- these are signs that he is ready to use the potty. You'll notice that he has become very protective of his things and doesn't like to share. He's fearful that if he lets another child play with his toys, he'll never get them back. Sleep problems may resurface as he relives important events of his day during the night. These disturbances actually help him let go of his fears and anxiety.

Smart Strategy:

Watch for clues from your child to see if he's ready for toilet training; not all children are ready at the same time. Don't force it -- when he is ready, he'll let you know. Patiently explain the concept of sharing, which is not an easy idea for a child to grasp. Also, avoid intervening when your child wakes at night. Otherwise, you'll increase his dependency on you at a time when independence should be rising. When he can settle himself, he learns that he has the ability to do so.

Emotional Milestones

Issues of independence come into play now. Your toddler understands the concept of authority, but will test it. She'll want her own way and may fuss about what to wear, what to eat, or what to play. She may cry at comings and goings or even throw a tantrum at bedtime or bathtime. She wants to be the boss and have some control over her world. She likes to be with other children her age, but the concept of playing together or making friends is still beyond her. She identifies with you and wants to help with household chores.

Smart Strategy:

This can be a tough time for you unless you refuse to engage in power struggles and allow your child to make some choices. For example, let her decide whether she wants to wear the brown pants or the blue or whether she wants cereal or a waffle for breakfast. Give her advance notice when you have to leave somewhere. ("We have to go home in 5 minutes, so take one more turn down the slide.") It's especially important to give her love and some autonomy within firm limits. Make sure she has time to play with other young children, but don't expect much in terms of social interaction.

Cognitive Milestones

You may have a tough time getting a word in with your little chatterbox in the house. He begins to speak in short sentences and can use the words "I", "me", and "mine." His vocabulary will increase to between 200 and 400 words, and he'll begin to use plurals and verbs. He will begin to understand categories (that dogs and cats are animals, for example) and he'll spend a lot of time sorting items during playtime. He can understand instructions but may refuse to follow them.

Smart Strategy:

Help your child expand his vocabulary by using words he may not know in a context that make them clear. Offer him toys that he can sort (blocks especially) and child scissors, crayons, markers, and paints. Child-size household toys like play kitchens are especially appealing now, as is anything with switches, buttons or knobs.

Immunizations at This Age

  • Depending on where you live, your pediatrician may recommend the Hepatitis A vaccine.

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