Baby has been exploring the world in one way or another since they were born, but they are moving into the stage in their life where all that exploration is starting to pay off with real understanding. Around this time, your toddler may be starting to sort objects by size, shape, and color, to know some of the names of the everyday objects in their life, and still be able to find objects like toys, even when they’re under several layers of covers.
This last trick shows a pretty strong belief in and understanding of object permanence, and they may be starting to apply that understanding to you and their other caregivers, too. This means that, if you’ve been having trouble with separation anxiety, it may have ended by now, or it may be on the way out.
On top of their growing understanding of the world around them, their feelings are also a lot stronger around this time. This can lead to some acting out, but a lot of that acting out just happens because they doesn’t know how else to respond to their feelings. Many parents are unwilling to show negative feelings to their little ones, but modeling ways to work through these feelings to Baby can teach them how to deal with their own feelings without throwing a tantrum or lashing out.
This year is also going to be a big one for helping Baby develop their physical coordination. Baby’s probably pretty comfortable with walking by now, and they'll be ready to start experimenting with other ways to get around soon – if they isn’t already.
This means that right now is a great time to make sure your home is ready for Baby to start pioneering exciting new ways to get around. Maybe making sure all cabinets and shelves were secured to the wall didn’t feel as urgent when they were still getting the hang of being at ground-level, but Baby is getting ready to reach for the stars, so your shelving units had better be ready to support that goal, just in case you happen to look away long enough for them to take a crack at climbing them one day.
Baby’s adventures in being a two-year-old can get a little hair-raising now and then, but there’s a good chance that Baby won’t share your fears – at first. They still take a lot of their emotional cues from you, though, and if they notice you getting scared, it may start to have an effect on the way they feel about their explorations.
Can kick a ball without falling over: Baby may not be making any field goals, but they are definitely figuring out how to make a ball go somewhere. Kicking a ball can happen much earlier, or later, and it’s one of those milestones that’s partially defined by opportunity – has Baby had wide open space to try running around, kicking a ball? Has they seen anyone else playing with a ball that way? More than that, though, when they do first manage to kick a ball, it’s proof of how far their balance has come since they first stood upright.
Greets friends or family: Does Baby wave hello to the people they know? Does they smile, or call their names, or even say “hello”? Greeting the people in their life is one of those gestures that may just come naturally, but it’s also one of the first ways of showing their off the good manners that Baby may be developing. It’s also a sign of their attachment to the people in their life and their growing social skills.
- Rebecca Parlakian and Claire Lerner. “From Baby to Big Kid: Month 28.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, May 15 2016. Retrieved September 6 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1259-from-baby-to-big-kid-month-28.
- “Activities for Bonding and Learning from 24 to 36 Months.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, April 18 2016. Retrieved September 7 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1079-activities-for-bonding-and-learning-from-24-to-36-months.
- “Developmental Milestones: 2 Years Old.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, June 1 2009. Retrieved August 14 2017. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Developmental-Milestones-2-Year-Olds.aspx.
- “Developmental Skills for Ages 2 to 3 Years.” Fairview Health Services. University of Minnesota, Amplatz Children’s Hospital. Retrieved September 7 2017. https://www.fairview.org/fv/groups/internet/documents/web_content/developmen_201009262104505.pdf.
- “Feeding: What to Expect From 24 to 36 Months.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, February 16 2009. Retrieved September 6 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/154-feeding-what-to-expect-from-24-to-36-months.
- “Learning and Development: Young Children 24 to 36 Months.” Better Brains for Babies. University of Georgia. Retrieved September 7 2017. http://bbbgeorgia.org/childDev_24-36.php.
- “Play Activities for 24 to 36 Months.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, February 17 2010. Retrieved September 7 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/169-play-activities-for-24-to-36-months.
- “Physical Activity for Your Child: Age 2 Years.” Lancaster General Health. Penn Medicine. Retrieved September 7 2017. http://www.lancastergeneralhealth.org/LGH/ECommerceSite/media/LGH-Media-Library/Documents/Services/Service%20Lines/Healthy%20Weight%20Management/Fact%20Sheets/Physical-Activity-Age-2.pdf.
- “Stages of Play from 24-36 Months: The World of Imagination.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, February 26 2015. Retrieved September 6 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/315-stages-of-play-from-24-36-months-the-world-of-imagination.