Toddler Age 2
Growth & Development: Watch Me, Mommy!
By age two, toddlers are becoming increasingly independent and doing things for themselves, like picking up their toys, washing their hands and brushing their teeth without help. Some parents refer to this stage as "the terrible twos" because your toddler has begun to take more risks and assert an independent spirit.
They're walking on their own and getting better at running and jumping. They are also slimming down as their limbs and torso lengthen. Your toddler's head is growing more slowly, so her proportions are starting to resemble those of an adult.1
Improved Communication Skills…
Your toddler is also talking more, and may have 50 words or more in her vocabulary. She can put together simple two-word sentences, but don't worry if you can only understand them about half the time. Your toddler may not have the hang of pronouns yet, so you may notice she avoids them completely.1
While their newfound independence may make your little one easier to care for, it can also be unpredictable. They may test your limits one minute, and want to cling to you for comfort the next. Give her attention and reassurance when she needs it without going overboard; anxiety from being away from you will likely fade in the next few months.1
Good Advice for Mom
Don't worry too much if your little one still sucks his thumb. Most kids give it up between ages and two and four when they find they can comfort themselves with snacks or naps. Once his permanent teeth come in, thumb-sucking can start causing problems with mouth growth and tooth alignment. If your child hasn’t given it up by then, you may want to ask your dentist for some habit-breaking techniques.2
Check with the pharmacist before crushing medicine. Sometimes crushed medicine tablets make them easier for your child to swallow, but it's a good idea to check with the pharmacist first. Crushing it may make it less effective.3
Toddler Age 3
Growth & Development: Can I Help?
Time to Pretend...
Your toddler is growing up right before your eyes. They're probably able to leave you without getting too anxious, and adjusts to new situations like preschool more easily. They're starting to create ways to entertain themselves, such as boys playing fireman or girls pretending to be the mommy to their dolls. They may love to help you with chores and are pretty good at following instructions when it's time to put away their toys or wash their hands for dinner.4
Improved Communication Skills...
Toddlers may show some understanding of the alphabet and the idea that letters form words and stories. As they approach their fourth year, they'll probably be solving problems such as asking a friend to trade toys so they can each have a turn.
Good Advice for Mom
Ask your child questions. The best way to know your child has an earache is him telling you, just ask. But if he can't talk clearly yet, there are other clues. If he pulls or tugs at his ear, has a fever, has fluid draining from his ear, is fussy, is eating less, has an upset stomach, has diarrhea, starts waking in the night or crying in his sleep, call your doctor. A pesky ear infection may be to blame.5
Be aware of your child's developing identity. Are you imagining things, or did you hear your child bossing his toys around, congratulating himself on behaving well and talking to an imaginary friend? If he's a normal three-year-old, you heard right. This "self-talk" is your child's way of gaining self-control and thinking about his place in the world, and is quite healthy.6
Make language and reading development fun. Your toddler is just starting to learn the alphabet and recognize words. To help him along, it can be fun to point out everyday words like the letters on a stop sign or the logo on a favorite store. Give him a subscription to a children's magazine so he'll have something new to read on a regular basis. He'll also love getting his own mail!7