Big changes in the third year

The “terrible twos” are on the horizon! Despite this familiar expression, the upcoming year is actually filled with exciting changes, and plenty of fun. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see from your toddler this year.

  • Communication: If Baby has a speech delay, it will be able to be diagnosed around his second birthday. Most children have around 50 words by age 2, and are beginning to string words together. By the end of the year, he should be speaking in short sentences. During this year, Baby will begin to point out familiar objects, and identify the names of common items and familiar people. He will also start following two-step commands, such as getting his coat, and then bringing it over to you. For toddlers whose speech is delayed, either on the expressive or receptive end, this is a good time to begin speech therapy to help get them back on track.
  • Eating: Many toddlers become pickier eaters this year, which can come as a shock to parents whose babies were not fussy in the past. If Baby goes on a vegetable strike, or refuses to try foods with certain textures, don’t fret. Continue to offer a healthy variety of food to Baby at mealtime, and let him try them at his own pace. He won’t go hungry!
  • Motor skills: And he’s off! This year, Baby should learn to run, climb, and jump like a pro. Spending lots of time outdoors will give him the chance to practice these skills, so be sure to make trips to the park a part of your regular routine. He will also learn how to throw and kick a ball this year, which is another way you can have fun with Baby outside of your home.
  • Tantrums: It’s unrealistic to talk about this year without bringing up the topic of tantrums. Baby is entering a phase of independence, and he will want to do many things on his own, but unfortunately for him, it won’t always be practical, or even possible, to let him. This can cause some backlash when you step in, and result in pretty big feelings. Tantrums happen when toddlers are overwhelmed by their emotions, and lack the skills to effectively communicate how they’re feeling. Instead of boiling over yourself, try to think of how Baby is feeling, and meet him in the middle when you can. For example, while he can’t go to the store in a bathing suit in the winter, you may find that he is happy enough if you just give him the chance to choose between two sweaters because it means making an independent choice.
  • Social: Two-year-olds mostly engage in parallel play with their peers, opting to play alongside friends, rather than engaging directly. However, Baby will probably start to get excited when he is around children his own age, which you can encourage by attending groups and activities with other toddlers. Some social skills, like sharing and taking turns, are still a work in progress this year. Continue to model good behavior at home, but remember it may be a few years still before Baby begins following through with these skills on his own.

You and Baby have a big year ahead of you, and by the time it’s over, you’ll know even more about him than you ever have before.


Sources
  • “Developmental Milestones: 2 Year Olds.” HealthyChildren. American Academy of Pediatrics, June 1 2009. Retrieved November 8 2017. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Developmental-Milestones-2-Year-Olds.aspx.
  • “Important Milestones: Your Child By Two Years.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, October 3 2017. Retrieved November 8 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-2yr.html.
  • “Important Milestones: Your Child By Three Years.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, October 3 2017. Retrieved November 8 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-3yr.html. 
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