When to start teaching your child and what to teach a two-year-old? Just like the saying goes -It’s always best to start them young.
Children as young as two years old can already communicate with a few words and gestures. They can respond to simple requests and use simple gestures to express themselves. For example, they can shake their heads when they want to say “no”. Moreover, this is the time when they start to explore different things in their own ways.
Developmental Milestones of 2-Year-Olds
As your baby transforms from an infant to a toddler in their second year of life, a lot of changes will start to happen. They will learn to run or jump. They will start saying more words. More importantly, they will want to figure out a lot of things around them. Let’s take a look at the important milestones of your two-year-old.
As your baby turns two years old, they’ll start to develop gross motor skills using big muscles to move their whole body. They’ll be able to stand and walk alone. They’ll start walking up the stairs. They’ll also be able to make dressing or undressing easier by sticking out their arms or legs.
This will also be the time they’ll develop their fine motor skills, allowing them to drink from a regular cup, learn how to use a spoon, do pincer grasp, put things and take them out again (you’ll be surprised how much they enjoy doing this.)
With better motor skills and overall body coordination, most toddlers at this age love to hang out at playgrounds. They especially love swings and slides. This equipment helps keep them active and gives them a chance to interact with other same-aged children and make some friends.
Two-year-olds will learn how to think, learn, explore, and solve small problems. They’ll be able to learn to use everyday objects, including a toothbrush, spoon, fork, cup, etc. They’ll also be able to make a connection between a word and an image in one of their books. Aside from that, they’ll show reactions to certain stimuli, like their favourite tunes, stories, or toys.
Social and language milestones
When your child turns two, they’ll be able to recognize the names of family members and certain people with words. They’ll learn to associate words for certain items, like toys, shoes, cups, etc. They’ll have a better understanding of basic commands, learn to say basic words, like “mama,” “no,” “dada,” “ball,” and the like. Aside from that, they’ll be able to express different emotions through crying or making sounds.
As for their social skills, they’ll show affection to people they are familiar with. They will start to become clingy with their caregivers. They’ll smile or laugh at certain things, or cry when someone is upset.
What To Teach A Two-Year-Old?
Two-year-olds can learn a lot of things through play and social interaction. This will be the perfect time to be teaching them new things that will be integral in their development.
At this age, the primary ways for two-year-olds to learn is still through playing with toys and interacting with parents. If you haven’t started already, it’s a good time to introduce STEM toys to help your child form interests in science and technology.
Forming sentences and questions
By now, your toddler will have gained a few basic words in their vocabulary. Teach them to put different words together to form understandable sentences or questions, including names, body parts, animal names and sounds, household objects, colors, shapes, direction words, weather, and even personal information, like parents’ names and addresses. Even while you’re doing mundane things, like washing them or playing with a ball, you should make it a point to saying what you’re doing to encourage them to talk.
Give your two-year-old the opportunity to do things on their own for them to learn to do things by themselves. These include dressing or choosing their own clothes, using utensils, choosing meals or snacks, brushing their teeth, combing their hair, cleaning up, blowing their nose, washing their hands, getting in and out of the car, and choosing their toys or activities during playtime. Show them how to do these things the right way and then let them do them on their own.
Using building blocks during playtime helps little ones improve their hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. Playing with such toys will encourage them to use their imagination and creativity to build miniature buildings while having fun toppling them down when they’re done.
Puzzles are a fantastic activity to develop your child’s fine and gross-motor skills. They will be able to practice hand-eye coordination as they try to fit different puzzle pieces into their correct spots. This activity is also a great way to develop their visual-spatial awareness as they try to manipulate puzzle pieces.
Magnetic puzzles are great learning toys that can help toddlers boost their creativity, though many such puzzles are suggested for kids older than three years. If your two-year-old is not quite ready yet, then plastic waffle puzzles are a great alternative.
Encouraging your toddler to play outside won’t be difficult since this is the time when they’ll want to explore different things. Letting them explore the outdoors is also a great way to develop their gross motor skills since they’ll be using big muscles to jump, run, climb, pedal, or catch/throw a ball. Take them to a playground with lots of equipment so they can have lots of opportunities to do physical activities.
Letting your child play outside with other children is also a wonderful way for them to socialize and enhance their intellectual, emotional, physical, and social skills.
A Few Tips for Parents
Parenting two-year-olds requires a balance between teaching them and encouraging independence. Don’t worry about not doing it right right away. What’s important is that you do it with finesse.
Don’t mind unwanted behaviors.
Toddlers tend to repeat behaviors that result in a big reaction. For example, your two-year-old may pick up a bad word from you or someone in the family. Act like it’s not a big deal. This way they won’t repeat it to see your reaction to their action.
Teach them what they CAN do.
Instead of telling them “don’t run,” you can say, “just walk” or “use your feet.” You can even use other words for different actions to make it more fun. Using positive language at this stage in their lives is important to redirect their behavior.
Assign them simple jobs.
Toddlers are naturally curious so they’ll always want to be in on the action. By putting them in charge of a simple task, they’ll be able to harness their newfound sense of self and of course, gaining their cooperation. Have them be a part of whatever you do around the house. this way they’ll be more likely to grow up helpful and compassionate.
Acknowledge their emotions.
Your two-year-old is new to expressing their emotions, and may not be able to express them in socially acceptable ways. It’s important for adults to teach them to identify emotions and that these are meant to be felt. You can acknowledge their emotions by saying: “It’s okay to be sad, but it’s not okay to take it out on your sibling or a toy.” This way they’ll be able to understand and express their feelings better.
Your child won’t be a two-year-old for a long time. It won’t be long until they’re older and you’ll wish you could keep them a baby forever.
While it can be challenging raising a child, the rewards of teaching them all of these things yourself is beyond measure. This is why you should make it a point to be present in your child’s life and teach them everything they need to know as they grow older.
Cecilia Yeung is a successful entrepreneur and product researcher. She has a background in psychology and children’s education. As a working mother of two, she loves to write about children’s education and development.