Your Two-Year-Old (page 2)
Typical Behaviors of Two-Year-Olds
The behavior of two-years-olds is noticeably different than i twas just a few months ago. The typical two year-old is entering a smooth stage of development, when he or she is often gentle, friendly, cooperative, and calm. Children at this stage typically make less vigorous demands and have a better ability to express themselves.
- Walks, runs, and climbs with new confidence and admirable skill
- Loves to romp, flee, and chase
- No longer staggers or toddles; walks more steadily but still lacks coordination
- Experiences through touching, handling, holding
- Uses both hands working together
- Turns page by page in a book
- Uses many new words
- Enjoys simple rhymes and songs
- Calls him or herself by name
- Talks more to him or herself than others
- Begins to string words together
- Has a gentle temperament
- Prefers parallel play
- Imitates real life experiences such as cooking, hammering, talking on the phone
- May begin to verbalize toilet needs, though is not yet able to stay dry
- Is more skilled at undressing than dressing
- Has a short attention span and is easily distracted
- Has to look with hands as well as eyes; explores through touch
- Involves him or herself in simple exploration and investigation throughout the typical day
- Is fascinated by water and sand play
- Likes repetition and routine
Typical Behaviors of Two-and-a-Half-Year-Olds
Two-and-a-half year-olds often become tense and rigid as they enter a difficult stage where extreme, demanding, and explosive emotions can take over and often do. This is a time of extreme opposites; the child explores and wants both of any two opposites—at the same time!
- Begins to walk on tiptoe
- Jumps with both feet
- Can speed up, slow down, dodge obstacles, turn corners, make sudden stops and start up again with ease
- Is more skillful with handling small toys
- Uses the words “no” and “mine” constantly
- Repeats words and phrases over and over
- Uses language as an effort to control others
- Has a rapidly expanding vocabulary
- Understands more than he or she speaks
- Is no longer the gentle, friendly toddler
- Is often in conflict with parents/caregivers
- Is inflexible; unable to adapt, give in, or wait
- Has explosive emotions and frequent tantrums
- Has difficulty accepting anything new; everything has to be done just so
- Can be extremely bossy and demanding
- Enjoys rhythm, repetition, and rhyme in stories
- Delights in role playing
- Likes to give orders and make decisions in order to control
- Often chooses things that can be taken apart and put back together again
Routines are extremely important for two year- olds. Work with your child’s need for “sameness” and repetition. Set up practical routines and rituals to help with the most difficult times during the day, such as getting dressed, ending playtime, and bedtime.
Play environments should be safe with reasonable boundaries. Because the two-year old child explores through touch, place “hands off” items well out of reach. Redirecting your child works well when you are unable to meet his or her requests. Distraction of any kind or a change of scenery is highly preferable to a battle of the wills. Ignore tantrums in order to avoid rewarding the behavior with your attention.
Offer simple choices to your two-and-a-half year-old. If it becomes clear that your child will not be satisfied with either of two alternatives, as will happen often at this age, it is best to move to a new activity or remove your child from the scene. If your two-year-old will attend an early childhoodprogram, besuretoselectonethat will view your child as an individual, with unique needs and abilities. To ensure that your child is active, engaged, and continually supported in his or her healthy growth and learning, curriculum should be versatile, thoughtfully planned, developmentally appropriate, and respectful of children, their families, and individual backgrounds. Visit www.naeyc.org for more information about developmentally appropriate practiceand indicators of quality preschool programs.
The purpose of this pamphlet is to provide an overview of the typical, normal behaviors of young children at different ages and stages of development. Not every child goes through these somewhat predictable stages, and those who do have their own unique styles and individual timetables. Our advice to parentsis to work with these stages, channeling behaviors and actions into positive outcomes with out trying to prevent individual behaviors or characteristics.
Reprinted with permission of the Gesell Institute. Copyright © 2010, Gesell Institute of Human Development. All Rights Reserved.
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