Two year olds become calmer than they were in the months leading up to the second birthday. He moves more steadily, plays with less assistance, tells you what he wants, understands more of what you say, co-operates better with the rules, and wants to please and be good.
What Your Toddler is Learning and How You Can Help
- Loves rough and tumble play
- Runs well, but often stops by running into a stable object
- Walks up and down stairs independently, bringing both feet to each step. He usually uses the hand rail for support.
- Jumps off a low step by leading with one foot and landing in a deep squat or on all fours.
- Can jump forward.
- Experiments with going down the slide different ways
- Squats to pick an object up from the floor.
- Scribbles with a crayon.
- Turns pages of a book or magazine
- Snips paper with kindergarten scissors
- Builds 6-7 block towers and 2-3 block trains
- Wants to wash and dry own hands, but does it poorly
- Handles a cup well– lifting, drinking and replacing it without spilling.
- Takes off socks and shoes. Learning to put them on.
- Helps pull pants up or down
Body Shape and Size:
Two year olds continue to be a little plump, but grow taller and longer limbed during this year. He will grow about 2 1/2 inches and 5 pounds by his third birthday.
It is time to reduce his dietary fat intake to about 30 percent of his daily calories. Begin giving him low fat cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Don’t cut out fats entirely, he needs some for proper growth of his brain and body. If you are concerned he is overweight, follow your doctor’s orders, don’t put him on a diet by yourself.
He may be using very basic words or stringing sentences together. Both are normal for 2 year olds. However, if your child uses fewer than 20 words or you can only understand less than half of what he says, be sure to talk to his pediatrician about it. He should be tested for hearing problems.
Children whose mothers talk to them frequently know many more words than children whose mothers don’t talk to them much. Children whose fathers frequently talk to them develop even larger vocabularies. Moms use more words drawn from the child’s surroundings. Dads use more words from outside his immediate world.
He is beginning to understand the relative position of things. Practice words like: there, here, over, under, on top of, and below.
He learns new words by observing facial expression, hand gestures, and body movements as well as the sound of the words. He also learns new words by your interpretation of events around him. Rich use of descriptive words builds his vocabulary. In his self-talk he repeats and repeats new words in a meaningful context and he repeats familiar words by using them in new contexts.
What can you do to help his speech?
Don’t correct his grammar. Just repeat the sentence using the correct words or grammar. He will learn by hearing properly spoken language. Don’t insist that he use complete sentences. Forcing him to speak in complete sentences is frustrating because it interrupts the flow of conversation. If you don’t understand something he said, try guessing at it. If you still don’t understand, ask him to point to what he wants. This method is much less frustrating to your child than stating, “I can’t understand you.”
Since the word “no” is still one of his most commonly used words. Try substituting “stop” when you want immediate response. If he doesn’t immediately stop, be ready to make him stop. He must learn that stopping is non-negotiable.
Make a habit of asking questions that cannot be answered with “yes” or “no.” Ask questions like, “Which of these (two acceptable choices) do you want?” “Do you want this before or after. . ?”
His feelings are transparent and spectacular. His responses are all or nothing with no milder reactions in between. He experiences the full range of emotions, but seldom has words to describe them. He may frighten himself by the strength of his own responses.
You help by allowing him to express his emotions. Don’t always rescue him from sadness, anger, or frustration. He needs to learn to cope with minor setbacks. Don’t try to force him to stifle his tears. Let him know that sadness is part of life and it is ok to feel sad sometimes. Let him learn to work through his feelings. You help when you label his feelings and show him acceptable ways to express his emotions. Avoid overreacting to these emotional storms.
Using learning styles to teach math concepts:
By observation you can discover your child’s favored learning style. You may notice he learns most quickly when he sees new things. That style of learning is called visual learning. Perhaps your child learns best by using his body and handling new things. This style of learning is called physical or kinesthetic learning. Finally, some children learn best by listening to someone talk about new things. This style is auditory learning. Of course, combining these approaches to teaching will help your child discover other ways of learning.
There are many ways to begin to teach your child math concepts. Here are a variety of different approaches:
For visual learning:
- When riding in the car, have your child look for numbers on signs and license plates. Call out the numbers when you see them.
- Dot-to-dot coloring books teach the number sequence.
- Write down the phone number for a friend and allow your child to dial the number. This has the advantage of teaching reading from left to right.
For physical learning:
- Ask your child to sort the silverware into their partitions in the drawer. Sorting is important to beginning math. Have him help sort socks by color and size. Have him count the number of t-shirts in the laundry basket.
- Play with shape puzzles and blocks
- Make a counting book. Cut pictures out of old catalogs or magazines and paste them on construction paper. Count all the pictures on each page.
- The Goldfish game. Draw a fishbowl on paper. Put goldfish crackers in the fishbowl and count them. After he eats some have him count them again.
- Look for patterns. Make color patterns from blocks, like two red, one blue, one green. Encourage your child to reproduce the pattern. See the rings in a log or lines in smooth pebbles.
For auditory learning:
- Listen and sing rhyming and counting songs.
- Have him help you make cookies. Tell him how much he needs to put in the bowl. This is a delicious way to learn math has value in everyday life.
Using His Senses:
Teach rough and smooth: with carpet and wood floors or sheets and bedspread
Teach sticky with cellophane tape
Teach loud and soft: clapping loudly or softly or whisper and yell
Let him smell a familiar food without seeing it. Then have him choose which it is from two choices.
Give him a bite of something with his eyes closed and see if he can identify what it is. Teach him descriptive taste words: sweet, sour, salty, bitter.
What to Expect Next
- Walking with a smooth heel-to-toe motion
- Washing and drying his own hands
- Makes a three block train
What is the Value of Play?
For Physical Development
Large muscles develop through running, throwing, kicking, and pedaling. Rough and tumble play helps develop balance, a sense of placement in space, and coordination. Muscles and bones grow when children use large muscles in play. Fine motor skills develop hand-eye co-ordination and concentration.
Physical activity helps children work through stress and irritability. Physical dexterity leads to a sense of independence and self confidence. Set an example of healthy physical activities.
For Practicing Social Skills
Playing together with other children helps develop communication skills necessary for building good relationships. Group play teaches cooperation, sharing, and negotiation. Playing with other children helps children learn the world doesn’t revolve around them and that they are part of a community. Learning proper ways to be assertive is also an important skill learned in a play group.
If your child has not been involved in play groups, this is a great time to start. It is best for him to have some experience playing with other children before beginning preschool. Invite a few children about his age, introduce a game or activity, and then let the children take it from there. Only intervene when really necessary. Let them work out their differences.
To Enjoy Imagination
Imaginative play gives your child a sense of control as he practices different roles and social behavior. He will use everyday objects as symbols for other things. He transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. He will assume different roles and practice behaviors associated with those roles. When he has experienced an event he doesn’t understand, through imaginative play he will try to work out the meaning of what he has observed.
Keeping a box of everyday items he can use in imaginative play will encourage this type of play. Kid versions of adult objects stretch his imagination.
Dear Heavenly Father, we see how much our child learns from watching and copying our actions and words. Help us to be aware of the example we are setting. We want to please You by being the dad and mom you want us to be to this child. In Jesus’ name, Amen.