What to Expect: Age 2
This year your older baby will transform into a toddler. They will go from being dependent on you to demanding independence. This year your child will have much slower growth physically compared to the previous year however their mind will grow exponentially. Their play will begin to evolve into imaginative play, and they may become enthusiastic at the presence of other children. Your child will begin to observe you and other adults in their life, mimicking your habits and actions. They may pretend to text or talk on a phone. They may repeat words they hear in conversation or mimic someone’s body language. At this age, your child is excellent at mimicking those around them. They will also throw tantrums when they do not get what they want. This year can be frustrating but also fun and exciting as well.
- Social and Emotional Development
As your child develops, they will begin to engage with others socially, even recognizing the presence of other children when playing. They may play parallel, or alongside, other children. They may also participate in chasing games or kicking a ball with others. This is the year that imaginative play begins and they enjoy putting on dad’s shoes or carrying a purse around like mom. Your child will also be defiant at times, doing things they were told not to, such as opening an off-limits cabinet. Your child will crave independence, insisting that they do tasks by themselves even if they do it incorrectly. They may pick out their own clothes and attempt to tie their own shoes. Social and emotional development will become more complex as they learn about relationships, strangers and their involvement with other children. This year your child’s personality will blossom, and you will find yourself amused by the clever things they do as they explore the world.
- Language Development
This year your child will continue to develop language. Their vocabulary will explode, going from an average of 50 words at two years old to over 200 as they approach the age of 3. They will be able to string together two-word phrases at the beginning of the year, eventually growing to four-word sentences. They may begin to use plurals (dogs) as well as pronouns such as me and you. They will likely start to ask “What’s that?” or “Why?” as they learn more about the world. They will also understand the words of everyday objects or people and they will be able to point out objects when asked such as ball or toes. They will be able to complete simple instructions such as “Put the book on the table.” They may even be able to complete two step instructions such as “Put the book on the table and give me your shoes.” Your child’s vocabulary and understanding of language will improve every day. By the end of the year, you should be able to understand most of what they are saying and possibly even have back and forth conversations.
- Cognitive Development
Your child’s understanding of object permanence will improve as they will look for items buried in two or three blankets. They may begin to experience separation anxiety however it is typically a temporary phase. They may sort items in categories such as shapes, colors or sizes. Your child may be able to recite sentences in a favorite book or sing familiar nursery rhymes. They will begin to favor one hand over the other which will likely indicate what their dominant hand will be. Your child will be able to build a tower of four or more blocks, and they may enjoy knocking it over and then rebuilding it. They may play simple make believe games such as feeding a baby doll or racing matchbox cars. Your child will also be able to name items in a book such as shoes or flower. This year your child’s brain will grow even more complex than ever before, allowing them to participate in more complicated games, conversations and activities.
- Movement and Physical Development
Your child will be walking on their own if they aren’t already and by the end of the year they will likely be running to destinations rather than walking. As their gross motor skills improve, they will be able to climb on and off furniture without assistance as well as jump on two feet without difficulty. They may also be able to balance on one foot for a short period of time. Your child will be able to stand on their tip toes as well as kick a ball. As their balance and control improve, they will be able to walk up and down stairs while holding onto a rail and they may even alternate their feet.
They will also be able to throw a ball overhand as well as attempt to catch it when it is thrown back to them. As their fine motor skills improve, they will be able to scribble spontaneously as well as draw lines or shapes. They will also likely begin to insist that they brush their own teeth, pull up their own pants and brush their own hair. Your child will also begin to turn on the sink to wash their hands as well as attempt to zip a zipper or close snaps. They may also begin to hold utensils and crayons with their fingers instead of with a fist although the hold will still need improvement.
As your small baby grows into an active toddler, they will start to be more physically active. They will insist that they do tasks on their own and they will begin to test boundaries to see what happens. Tantrums will begin as they form opinions and independence and you may find them acting defiant frequently. They will begin to ask questions about their surroundings, and they will begin to mimic those around them. Their growth this year will be drastic as they begin to develop into an independent young child. Your child’s development from a helpless infant to an opinionated active toddler will be dramatic. This year may feel grueling at times however it will be rewarding as you begin to hold conversations with them and learn more about their blossoming personality.