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

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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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