One of the best things about your child getting older is that development starts to slow down. In the beginning they are changing clothing and diaper sizes every 2-3 months, along with crazy spurts of growth and mental development. In just a few weeks your baby can seem like an entirely different child!
Toddler life is a little bit different. While your child is still developing rapidly, it’s mostly refined development of their motor skills and speech. Their body and gross motor skills have done so much over the past few years. Now it’s time for their fine motor skills to be refined, their speech to develop more, and when they soak up more about how the world works.
Even though you can’t always see the growth on the outside, your toddler is learning so much and growing so rapidly. Even though they aren’t constantly changing clothing sizes, they still need enormous amounts of sleep! You will probably notice that your baby will be losing their “chub” and starting to look like more of a kid every day. They are slowly transitioning from a baby to a child and it will be hard on both of you some days.
Expect a lot of emotions. 2 year olds wear their hearts on their sleeves and you’re the lucky one who gets to experience the brunt of their crazy feelings. Remember that your toddler is trying to figure out how the world works and they don’t understand. Sometimes their emotions are very strong and they don’t know what to do with them. Remember that you are their safe place. Don’t demean them or yell at them for expressing their feelings. It’s also not good to immediately solve all your toddler’s problems. Instead, empathize with their emotions. Get on their level, give a word for their feelings, and help them find a healthy way to express that emotion. Let them know that emotions are okay.
Regular daily routines are very helpful for this age. Routines give toddlers a sense of security and something they can expect. When you throw them out of their routine, they might have some unexpected emotions such as fear, anxiety, or confusion. They like to feel safe and secure with what’s going on around them. Discipline is part of that. Create consistency in as many areas of life as you can. Don’t waffle with your expectations for them or they will be confused.
DAILY LIFE: 2 YEARS
- 3 meals + 1 snack
- Your toddler needs 30-36 oz of liquid daily. If you are still giving cow’s milk/formula, 1 cup per day is all they need. 1 cup of juice is also fine. The rest of their liquid intake should be water (unless you are still breastfeeding, in which case they can have as much as they want in lieu of water).
- You should expect 1 bowel movement daily, along with 4-6 wet diapers daily.
- Potty training can begin at any time in the next year. Follow your child’s lead.
- 10-14 hours total
- 1 nap
- 8-12 hour night stretches
- Understands emotions and has the ability to console others who are hurting
- Impressive increase in language comprehension
- Repeats words overheard in conversation
- Plays with other children
- Copies behavior he sees in others or in TV shows
- Plays simple make believe games
- Can wash and dry hands
- May begin to show interest in potty training
- Can jump and hop
- Stands on tiptoes
- Might be able to crawl out of crib – watch out!
- Remembers names of familiar people and places
- Likes to point to and learn different body parts – make it a game
- Seeks approval from you and other authority figures
- Can follow instructions with multiple steps
- Attempts to get dressed and undressed by himself
- Kicks and throws balls
- Runs well without falling
- Speaks in full sentences and is understood by others most of the time
- Walks up and down stairs without help
- Makes or copies straight lines and circles
- Play dress-up
- Go to the library
- Play with dirt, sand, rice or rock sensory bins
- Water table
- Go to a children’s museum
- Go swimming
- Finger painting
- Dance to music
- Bath time
- Read books
- Practice the alphabet
- Ask them to identify noises
- Avoid excessive screen time
- Number items during daily life
SAMPLE DAILY SCHEDULE: 2 YEARS
8:00 – Breakfast
12:30 – Lunch
1:00 – Nap
3:00 – Snack
6:00 – Dinner
6:30 – Bathe
7:30 – Bedtime
*For more ideas to raising a healthy toddler, check out this post.