Important developmental milestones at 2-3 years old
The ages of two and three are crucial stages in child development. During this period, children become curious and begin to determine their likes and dislikes. So what are the important developmental milestones during this time?
How is your child developing?
Whether you are a first-time parent or up to your third, it is important to remember that this is a crucial period in a child’s emotional development.
According to The Australian Parenting Website, your toddler is experiencing a wide range of emotions while also learning about the emotions of others. Temper tantrums are common in children because they often don’t know how to express “big” emotions like frustration, anger, embarrassment, guilt and shame. Your toddler is also learning how their actions affect you and how your actions affect them.
Everything toddlers have learned until now has helped to shape their thinking.
Your toddler is beginning to understand ideas such as time and opposites including day and night and big and small. In addition, your toddler will begin to point to body parts based on what they do, sort objects and match shapes and colours. Your toddler will also begin to solve problems by experimenting.
Around the age of two, toddlers may be able to use sentences of two-three words and say ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘me’. Your toddler will learn and use more words, making him or her easier to understand when speaking.
Toddlers three years of age can usually use sentences of 3-5 words and sometimes more. Your toddler will begin to learn how to take turns speaking, may be able to hold a brief conversation with you or tell a simple story such as ‘I go shopping’.
Playing and learning
Children learn through play, which is why it is so important.
Your toddler will enjoy playing with others, dressing up, having tea parties, painting and engaging in “rough and tumble” play. When your toddler plays with you or other children, you may notice that he or she is becoming more adept at taking turns.
Telling stories, singing and reading are also enjoyable activities for your child at this age.
During this period, children want to do more for themselves. For example, your toddler can probably wash their own hands, bathe, feed and dress themselves. However, while they are still learning, you may need to assist them.
Allowing your toddler to assist you with chores such as sweeping or dusting can help build their confidence in doing things on their own. Your child may even be ready to begin toilet training.
If your toddler exhibits any of the physical signs:
- Can do most things without your assistance.
- Is interested in watching others go to the toilet. This may be awkward or make you uncomfortable at first, but it’s a good way to introduce things.
- Can follow simple instructions.
- Let’s you know when they do a poo or wee in their nappy.
Check to see if your toddler is ready for toilet training, but don’t push it. Going to the bathroom is one of the most difficult things for your child to learn because it requires so many skills.
Children at this age can run and will most likely fall less. Your toddler is learning to walk up and down the stairs on their own, but they still need to use the railing for balance. Your toddler can now throw the ball over his upper arm, kick and catch a ball and even stand on one foot.
Your toddler will feel more secure and reassured if you are present while they explore. This encourages your toddler to try new things and explore on their own.
With your toddler being so active, it’s a good idea to consider how you can make your home more secure.
At this age, your toddler may also jump on the spot, ride a tricycle, recognise and name objects and walk upstairs with one foot first, then the other.
Developmental milestones include abilities such as taking turns, making up games and kicking a ball. Children reach milestones in their play, learning, speaking, behaviour and movement like running, jumping or balancing.
This stage is commonly referred to as the ‘terrible twos’, because of children’s growing desire for independence. However, this is also an exciting time. Toddlers will go through significant cognitive, learning, social and emotional changes that will allow them to explore and make sense of their new world.
Toddlers should be able to follow two or three-step directions, sort objects by shape and colour, imitate the actions of adults and playmates and express a wide range of emotions at this stage.
Parenting toddlers at 2-3 years
As a parent, you are constantly learning. It’s fine to be uncertain about what you know. It’s also okay to admit you don’t know something and to seek clarification or assistance.
When you are preoccupied with caring for a child, you may forget or run out of time to care for yourself. Taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally will help your child grow and thrive.
You may feel frustrated, upset or overwhelmed at times. It’s fine to take a break until you feel more at ease. Put your toddler in a safe place or enlist the help of someone else to look after your toddler for a while. Try going to a different room to take deep breaths or call a family member or friend to talk things over.
You can help your toddler’s development.
You can assist your toddler’s development between the ages of two-three years by:
- Allowing your toddler to play with other children.
- Playing with other children is a great way for your toddler to make friends and learn how to interact with other children.
- Encouraging the use of everyday skills such as using a spoon and putting on shoes.
- These abilities necessitate both small and large muscle movements, as well as your toddler’s ability to think about what they’re doing.
- Talking to your toddler.
- Naming and talking about everyday objects such as body parts, toys, and household items such as spoons or chairs helps your toddler’s language skills development.
- Listening to and responding to your child’s talking to give it meaning.
- If your toddler says, ‘Mama milk,’ you could respond, ‘do you want Mum to get you some milk?’ This also gives your toddler a sense of worth and love.
- Reading to your child.
- By reading together, telling stories, singing songs, and reciting nursery rhymes, you can encourage your child’s talking and imagination.
- Cooking with your child.
- This helps your toddler become interested in healthy food, learn new words, and become acquainted with math concepts such as ‘half’, ‘1 teaspoon’, and ‘30 minutes’.” Simple cooking activities such as tossing a salad or assembling sandwiches can be assigned to your toddler.
The following are some of the things parents can do to help toddlers during this time:
- Make time to read books with your toddler.
- Encourage your child to engage in role-playing activities.
- With your toddler, pretend to be in a parade or follow the leader.
- Take your child for a walk or a wagon ride to encourage exploring her surroundings.
- Encourage your child to share his or her name and age with you.
- Teach your child simple songs such as ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ or other cultural children’s rhymes.
- Give your child attention and praise when he or she follows instructions and exhibits positive behaviour. However, limit attention when your toddler exhibits deviant behaviour, such as tantrums. Teach your child appropriate ways to express his or her feelings.
- Although many children begin preschool at the age of three, children do develop at their own pace, and there is no rush to begin preschool.
Little Assets is a privately owned company which aims to provide quality early childhood education. Little Assets believes in providing a safe and secure environment for children to excel to their highest potential. We value that children learn best through a play based program and we aim to facilitate this by providing educational resources as well as trained teachers to extend their skills.
We believe by valuing each child’s identity, culture, individual strengths and interests it will build children’s confidence,wellbeing and enthusiasm to engage in learning. We believe in the importance of planning and reviewing our practice to extend and enhance every child’s capabilities. As an organisation we believe early childhood education should be accessible and inclusive of the diversity of all children and families. We recognise that children’s learning takes place in the context of their family, the family being the child’s first educator. We strongly value a partnership approach between families, educators and management. The diverse needs and aspirations of children and their families will be honored.