Baby has been exploring the world in one way or another since she was born, but she is moving into the stage in her 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 her 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 she may be starting to apply that understanding to you and her 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 her growing understanding of the world around her, her 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 she doesn’t know how else to respond to her 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 her how to deal with her own feelings without throwing a tantrum or lashing out.
This year is also going to be a big one for helping Baby develop her physical coordination. Baby’s probably pretty comfortable with walking by now, and she’ll be ready to start experimenting with other ways to get around soon – if she 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 she was 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 her 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. She still takes a lot of her emotional cues from you, though, and if she notices you getting scared, it may start to have an effect on the way she feels about her explorations.
Can kick a ball without falling over: Baby may not be making any field goals, but she is 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 she seen anyone else playing with a ball that way? More than that, though, when she does first manage to kick a ball, it’s proof of how far her balance has come since she first stood upright.
Greets friends or family: Does Baby wave hello to the people she knows? Does she smile, or call their names, or even say “hello”? Greeting the people in her life is one of those gestures that may just come naturally, but it’s also one of the first ways of showing her off the good manners that Baby may be developing. It’s also a sign of her attachment to the people in her life and her 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.