Twenty four months old for a baby is probably the most infamous for toddlers, often referred to as the “Terrible Twos. The reality is that it is a lot of fun! The life of a two-year-old can consist of activities like dressing up, playing kitchen, loving their parents, and yes, throwing a tantrum or two.
In this article, we look at what you might expect at this age. A child’s development will occur at their own pace and will likely differ from what is written here. If you have any concerns that they are not meeting expected developmental milestones, do not be alarmed. Check in with your qualified health care professional, such as a pediatrician, to seek advice.
On a physical developmental front, a child’s mobility and movement at two are typically steady and more confident. They may still reach for your hand while going up the stairs, but they can often attempt it themselves with a new ability to climb with one foot at a time.
Another developmental milestone may include;
- Improved dexterity. You may start to notice if your child is left or right-handed by the frequency they use one over the other. Generally, hand and finger skills can develop with scribbling and the handling of toys, containers, and items like building blocks.
- Language skills. Your two year old is likely to have a handful of single words, maybe even very basic expressions of two to four words. They can often recognise familiar people and objects through speech.
- Cognition. Toddlers typically can sort by colours or shapes, and they start to understand playful concepts like hidden items or make-believe play characters.
- Emotions. Toddlers can start to identify as themselves, knowing their name and expressing their own wants. This can be positive, for example, in them articulating that they want to play with other children. This can also come across as defiant if they are stubborn about things.
A Practical Milestone… Potty Training
A major toddler project at this age is potty training. Some children may start this as early as eighteen months. Others may only be ready at thirty-six months. If you would like to explore the possibility of potty training, here are some signs you can look for:
- Wanting a Clean Nappy – toddlers may begin to cry or yell when their nappy’s are wet and need to be changed.
- Dry Throughout the Night – this may depend on how much your toddler drinks before bed, but a good sign they are ready is when they wake up with a dry nappy.
- Interest in the Toilet – when your toddler begins to follow you into the bathroom or wander in there alone, this shows they are interested in the activity of using the bathroom.
If your toddler has not shown any of these signs, that is normal. You can encourage your child by using potty-training language around them more. Such as nappies, toilet, and potty. This may help them get used to hearing the terms and pique their interest. Let your toddler show you when they are ready, and do not rush the process. It should all come together at the right time.
Twenty four months old can get a bad rap as “the terrible twos”. While tantrums are a phase that you might have to endure, there is so much play and genuine developmental milestones that parents have a lot to look forward to.
It is a good age to try creative activities to develop your baby’s new mental and physical skills. Some examples are:
- Arts and Crafts. Colouring has taken on a whole new meaning. You may watch in awe as you see their tiny hands grasp a crayon for the first time.
- Sensory Boxes. The possibilities are endless here. The main idea is to fill up two separate containers with items of your choice and teach your child how to transfer the items from one to the other. Mixing pasta or foam letters is a common favourite. Introduce tongs as well; it may help challenge their hand mobility.
- Pretend Play. Many children at this age may find great joy in pretending to play. Such as cooking in a toddler play kitchen by making food and eating, caring for a baby doll, and navigating toy cars.
Affection and touch play an important role in toddlers day-to-day behaviour. You can expect a few hugs and kisses throughout the day. You also might have a confronting and unexpected milestone when your baby starts to pull your hair or even swipe at you with their hands.
A baby still has to learn what is and is not ok. Here are a few ways to approach this unwanted behaviour:
- Firmly tell the child “no” and move them at an arm's distance away.
- Tell the child that their behaviour is hurtful and that they should try gentle touches.
- Say nothing to the child and walk away. Do not return for one to two minutes. When you do return, act as if nothing happened. If it happens again, simply start the process over.
Generally speaking, staying calm is the best thing for parents and babies. In reality, this can be difficult when you are tired or feel under pressure. It might help to remember that your baby is likely to mimic everything you do at these moments, so being calm can inspire them to be calm.
Balance the fun and excitement of milestones at eighteen months with a journey of learning social skills. You can be sure that both parent and child will be experiencing new challenges every day.
Written by Chelsea D.
Chelsea is a mum of one and pregnant with another. She writes about pregnancy, parenting, and body positivity.
All articles are provided as general information and are not intended, nor may it be construed, as medical advice or instruction. Information and opinions expressed are believed to be correct and accurate to the best knowledge and judgement of the authors. Readers should consult their appropriately qualified health care professional prior to taking any action or inaction.