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  • What To Expect From Your 2-Year-Old: A Parent's Guide To Developmental Milestones

    Here's what to expect from your toddler and how you can help them reach their milestones.
    by Kaydee Dela Buena .
What To Expect From Your 2-Year-Old: A Parent's Guide To Developmental Milestones
  • Your child is 2 years old — you officially have a toddler! As a parent, you want to make sure your 2-year-old baby's developmental milestones are achieved on time. This tells you they are growing healthily, but it's also important to remember that every child is different. Each one grows and gains skills at their own pace.

    Developmental milestones of a 2-year-old

    At the age of two, milestones are less fixed to specific abilities and are more directed at behaviors that display cognitive and physical accomplishments. You should look out for two major qualities in your toddler: lots of movement and independence.

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    Here’s a rundown of what you can expect as your child turns two.

    Physical growth

    By this age, expect your kid to move a lot. Physical growth includes developments in both gross motor (big muscles) and fine motor (small muscle) skills.

    Most 2-year-old baby developmental milestones include being able to walk alone, run, climb, and jump. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they should also be able to go up and down the stairs while holding on or climb onto and down furniture without help. They can stand on tiptoe, can kick a ball or throw it overhand.


    You’ll also want to see if your kid can pull or carry things with both hands. While they might be able to hold utensils or crayons, they may not have a preference for either the right hand or the left yet. They can feed themselves now, but it’s going to be messy. The same goes for writing; their lines might still appear as scribbles.

    Encourage your child to perform physical activities by playing with them. Many of these activities require practice. Provide them with ample space and toys like balls and building blocks so they can engage their muscles. 

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    Cognitive development

    By this age, your child will be able to differentiate shapes and colors, according to HealthyChildren.org. They will find objects even when it's hidden under two or three covers and begin make-believe play. They can also recognize and differentiate family members!

    During this time, your kid will show a desire for independence — refusing to ask for your help and instead finding new techniques to solve a problem. But then again, they’ll also display obedience and are able to understand and respond to two-step commands. Your child might also show interest in using common items like toothbrushes and crafting materials.

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    As parents, you can help stimulate your child’s mind by incorporating creativity and problem-solving during playtime. Give them books to read, puzzles to play with, and even a piece of paper they can color on. Make them help you with simple chores like putting away their toys, but make it a bit challenging by asking them to group them by type or color. Always describe what they’re doing and its purpose so they are exposed to more words.

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    Language formation

    According to most child development experts, two is the “magic” number when you get to decide if your child is up to speed with their speech development or is a late talker. Two-year-olds are expected to talk more.

    According to HealthyChildren.org, toddlers 15 to 18 months can say several single words, while 18 to 24-month-old toddlers can use simple phrases. They’ll also usually understand what you’re saying and can respond or initiate conversations by forming two to four-word sentences.


    At this age, they can also recognize the names of familiar people, objects, and body parts. They'll also be able to point to objects or pictures when it's named for them. They can follow simple instructions and repeat words they overhear.

    Having proper pronunciation is not expected yet. However, if your child is approaching 3 years old and he or she still babbles or if you have to repeat something three to four times and still don’t get a proper response, you might want to have your kid assessed by a professional.

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    Behavioral and emotional development

    By now, you might have heard of the “terrible twos.” It can be stressful but it’s actually a normal 2-year-old baby developmental milestone. It’s all part of your child's journey to independence and testing boundaries. Because they realize that they can actually do things without your help, they might start to exhibit defiant behavior, sometimes just to test what happens and how you’re going to respond. Expect tantrums, which happens when your child feels strongly about something but can’t properly express their emotions.


    If you feel like your child is about to throw a fit, distract them. Take advantage of their short attention span and offer something else in the place of what they can’t have. Your child might also be responsive to a change of scenery.

    The key is to remove your child from the stimulant that is triggering the behavior. If you can help it, have a definite routine so that your child learns your expectations and develops his or her own. 

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    Social development

    Two-year-olds are more socially interactive. Most of the time, they’ll prefer the company of their own age group another indicator of their desire for independence. They’ll want to engage in complicated pretend play centered on music or gross motor activity. You might also find your toddler mimicking what you do and say which is good, but always explain to them what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.


    While your child will show interest in interacting with other kids, they might be hesitant with sharing belongings like toys with them. This is because they are newly exposed to taking in another child’s perspective. Take advantage of your child imitating you and model, as parents, how you share things and other social actions and why it’s important.

    If approaching 3 years old and your child still hasn’t displayed progress in any of these 2-year-old baby developmental milestones, you might want to seek help from an expert or pediatrician if there are developmental delays or physical impairments.

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