As your tot approaches two years, she really is developing into her own person. The period of her being totally dependent on you may well be over, but the wonder of watching her find her own way in the world – with your assistance, of course – has only just begun.
What’s on the menu?
It can be difficult to get children of this age to eat a well-rounded diet. This doesn’t mean that all children are picky. In fact, many children of this age have voracious appetites and will eat just about anything you put on a plate.
However, for other parents it will not be so easy: some children will seemingly only eat carbs, others will seemingly only eat protein and others will seemingly only eat fruit or yoghurt. If you want to introduce new foods, try introducing them one at a time in small amounts so that she won’t feel overwhelmed by the new flavours and put off from trying them.
The important thing is that you don’t turn mealtimes into a battleground. In all but the most exceptional of cases, your child will take on enough calories and nutrients, and you can trust her to let you know when she’s hungry. The more charged mealtimes become, the more likely you are to end up with problems further down the line.
How much can my child comprehend?
Even if your child still has a limited vocabulary at this stage, chances are that she is aware of and understands a lot more than her developing spoken language skills would lead you to believe.
You can try out her comprehension skills (and her ease following instructions) by asking her to pass you a toy, to find her nose or her foot or even to give you a bite of her snack. Before you know it, you’ll be playing a game together, and the level of interaction you enjoy will only grow from here.
Keeping your toddler safe around the house
Your toddler may not be quite two yet, but she’s most probably already walking, running, skipping, crawling and climbing everywhere, perhaps even to places where you’d rather she didn’t.
Although her adventurous spirit may occasionally cause alarm bells, it is normal and her curiosity is to be encouraged, even if it does need to be monitored.
And remember, trying and failing is all part of learning, so your child inevitably will have countless slips, trips and tumbles – these will all help her develop her balance and spatial awareness.
I’m concerned about my toddler misbehaving
It’s usual for toddlers at this age to have many temper tantrums. From unpacking the shopping to shredding your important documents to kicking your shins, scratching your face or biting your shoulder, aggression and small acts of household terrorism are not at all uncommon as your child approaches the ‘terrible twos’.
Don’t worry about any of this; it is all normal. In fact, the more you react with adrenaline and anger, the less secure she will feel. Instead, lead the way with calm; your toddler will know that she is safe and secure. This will help reduce her aggression in the long run.
At this period your child is developing the hand-eye coordination necessary to hold a crayon or marker and to leave dazzling splodges and scribbles all over the page. There is something joyous about the way children work at this age – totally unselfconscious and without any ambition for “perfection”. Let her develop the motor skills she needs and within a few months she may be able to draw some recognisable shapes (if you’re lucky, maybe even your face).
Why is my child organising her toys?
Your child is beginning to recognise some of the subtle differences that exist in the world – for example, shapes, colours, sounds, and textures. Inevitably, she will be trying to make sense of all this exciting variation in her environment. This is why you may catch her organising and curating objects. From sorting yellow blocks from the green ones to separating her dolls from her teddies, it is likely that this instinct to curate and collect will know no bounds. This is all part of her cognitive development and will help her organise and make sense of the world as she comes to nursery age.
Time to get sporty?
For most children of this age, there will be just enough motor skills development for them to take joy in throwing a ball. In some cases, particularly if you are using a largish textured ball, she might even be able to achieve the odd catch. Not only is this great fun, but it is also an opportunity for you to bond and to help her develop reflexes that will serve her well all her life.
Find out more about what to expect when your child reaches two years old.