Baby Steps: Growth & Development
At this age, you may feel like your little one is growing up too fast. He/she can wash her hands, brush her teeth, get dressed with help, use a fork and spoon, and is learning 10 or more new words a day. He/she may be trying to help around the house and he/she can set simple goals, such as putting a toy in a certain place. He/she likes searching for hidden objects, can throw and kick a ball, and make block towers.39
Two years old! Babies this age are able to do a lot for themselves, including putting on their clothes. Yours is probably able to understand and follow two-step requests, do simple puzzles, draw a straight line, name pictures of items in a book and make short sentences. He/she understands opposites, such as tall and short, and may start becoming attuned to gender differences. He/she talks about themself more, but he/she's also interested in playing with other kids.39
Doing Everything Right: Tips for New Moms
A regular routine can be a lifesaver at this stage, so try to keep your child on the same schedule of eating, napping and going to bed. By knowing what to expect, your child will feel in control and less resistant to doing what you ask.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says your little one's teeth need at least one brushing per day, preferably at night, to keep cavity-causing bacteria from multiplying while he/she sleeps. Whether he/she does it herself or you're still helping, try to make sure he/she brushes every tooth.40
It's easier for children to get dehydrated than adults, partly because they don't always tell you when they're thirsty.41 Give your child water with his/her meals as well as in between, and keep a water bottle handy when you're in the car or at the playground.
Now that your toddler is old enough for the playground, you want to do everything you can to make it safe. When dressing him/her for a day outside, choose clothes that are comfortable but not loose enough to catch on the merry-go-round or slide. Also look for loose threads, drawstrings, loops and other doo-dads that could create hazards.42
Your two-year-old probably has the attention span of a two-year-old-so eating out can be a challenge. One trick is to order your child's meal as an appetizer so he/she's served first, and you have a better chance of enjoying your meal in peace.43
Children ages one to six shouldn't have more than four to six ounces of juice a day because it can add lots of calories and lead to tooth decay.44 Encourage your little one to drink water instead, and make it more attractive by adding a slice of lemon or lime, or using fun-shaped ice cubes.