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What’s not so terrible about “the two’s”

By: Dr. Stacy Meyer

Just a few weeks ago, my baby BusyBee turned 2!  Terrible, Terrific 2! Although there are definitely parts of 2 that can try your patience, I am really looking forward to this next year.

As we progress through this year, I know there will be much less seemingly “senseless” crying as BusyBee’s communication skills increase.  Between the ages of 2-3 years, most children will begin to speak in 2-4 word sentences enabling us, as parents, to get a much clearer idea of exactly what our children are wanting.  BusyBee is now able to effectively communicate that he is hungry or thirsty and even has a few choice phrases such as  “I don’t like it” and “No, I do it” to express his desires.

BusyBee like most children at the age of 2 years, is starting to more clearly identify himself as a person and increase his independence.  This can be frustrating as you wait ENDLESSLY for them to buckle their car seat while being serenaded by “No I do” every time you try to “help” but it’s an important part of their cognitive and emotional development to let them master these every day skills.  These small tasks are great confidence builders! Phrases start to contain more “I” and “me” pronouns and recognition of themselves in pictures and mirrors increases.  One of BusyBee’s favorite things to do lately is have his picture taken and then study himself in it!

While it’s truly terrific to see them master new skills and develop a sense of self this trait also contributes to the “terrible” part of 2!  This is the age in which new found independence and sense of self leads to defiance (this will be repeated in the teenage years).  Children at this age will really start to test limits for the first time.  Remember to be consistent to keep these behaviors to a minimum and not to give in to the tantrums that will likely follow any “no” on your part!  Now is the time to pick your battles, because lack of consistency and follow through will only reinforce tantrums as a means to an end for your young toddlers.

Around 2 years, motor development is also progressing rapidly to help them with their many new, independent endeavors.  Children at 2 are master climbers, navigating stairs with little support, and running further and faster without falling as often.  They are also starting to kick balls and carry and throw larger objects.  For BusyBee’s daddy this is when play really becomes more fun! For mommy, this means a whole new array of dangers, so be prepared out there!

Children at this age are also becoming more socially interactive. Taking pleasure in being around other children and even starting some early make believe play.  Don’t worry if your child doesn’t seem to play with other children yet.  Playing around them, parallel play, is enough for his little egocentric mind.

So although there are definitely some “terrible” parts of 2, there are many “terrific” parts too! Personally, the most terrific part of 2 for me, is the “I love you” from my baby every night at bedtime…no longer implied but now verbalized from his sweet lips!

By: Dr. Stacy Meyer – “Dr. Mom Squad”

Dr. Meyer is a pediatric endocrinologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital. She is the mother of two boys who she lovingly refers to as “Busy Bee” and “Sprout!” As part of the “Dr. Mom Squad,” Dr. Meyer blogs about her experiences as both as doctor and a mom and hopes to share insight to other parents on issues related to both parenting and kids health. Learn more about Dr. Meyer.

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