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Twos are terrific, tender, trying, taxing, and very, very exciting. They’ve come a long way in two short years, and so have you. As a parent of a two-year-old what do you need?
Patience—to help you deal with your child’s mood swings, which range from very helpful to very unreasonable.
Vigilance—to help you make your child’s world safe.
Loving firmness—to help you gently apply rules in a consistent way.
Humor—to help you laugh at yourself and with your child.
Wonder—to help you see your two-year-old as the creative, special person she really is.
Show me new things. Name them to help me develop my vocabulary. I like the sound of big words such as “escalator”, “rhinoceros”, and “elephant”. I’ll have fun trying to say them too.
Some children like only certain foods at certain times. Respect your child’s right to refuse to eat a food, but don’t feel that you can’t serve that food to the rest of the family.
A picky eater is sometimes willing to take a very small serving of food.
A child will be more willing to take a tiny taste if she knows she won’t be forced to eat more. She might also try a bite of a new food from your plate.
You are your child’s first and most important model. Serve a wide range of healthy foods and limit the amount of sodas, chips, and sweets in your own diet.
It is normal for your toddler to be confused and jealous when a new baby joins the family. Behaviors such as clinging, whining, hitting, crying, or more babyish ways may be a sign of these feelings. You need to reassure her that you will always love her and that she is still very important to you.
If you are planning to move to a new home, change her from a crib to a bed, or start her in preschool, do it well before or after the new baby’s arrival. Coping with a new sibling and a new home or school at the same time is a lot to ask of a two-year-old. Remember, she is still a toddler.
By age 2, your child should have had all her baby shots. Check with your doctor or public health nurse.
There are several things you can do to prevent burns:
Keep asking yourself how you can tell your child what you want her to do instead of always telling her “No!”.
Tell your child what to do instead of what not to do. “Stay away from the stove; it’s hot,” warns your child without using “no.” You can also suggest, “Come and cook over here with your own pots and pans.” When your child picks up a package, you can say, “Put it down carefully,” instead of, “No! Don’t touch that.”
Offer suggestions instead of using “No”. “I wonder if there is another truck for Billy?” rather than “No don’t do that. Give it back.” The use of “no” should be saved for times when your child is in danger of hurting herself, other people, or your possessions. For example, if your child is climbing on bookshelves that could fall over and hurt her, say “No, stay on the floor” or “No! The shelves could fall over and hurt you.” Move her to a safe spot and get her interested in a different activity or toy.
Every time she tries to climb the shelves, warn her again, “Stay on the floor. You could fall if you climb on the shelves.” Move her away from the shelves. Talk to her firmly, without yelling.
When your child repeatedly tries to do something you don’t want her to, try to figure out why. Is she climbing the shelves because there is something she wants that is out of reach? If it’s something she can play with, move it down for her. If it’s something she can’t have, put it away where she can’t see it. Maybe she’s climbing because she enjoys the challenge. Take her to a playground or place where she can climb safely.
Toddlers may not want to go to bed or may wake up several times during the night. Here are some ideas parents have found to be helpful at these times:
In Hawai‘i about 18% of families with children under 18 years of age are one-parent families. Single-parent homes are as different from one another as are two-parent homes. Both can produce well-adjusted children.
If you are a single parent, you may have some special concerns or needs. Call The Parent Line for information about community resources, your parenting questions, or support for the challenging task of single parenting.
Q – My son is two and a half and still sucks his thumb. Is this okay?
A – Yes. Thumbsucking is a very common behavior in children under six and helps some children feel secure and happy. It usually disappears on its own, especially if a child is not pressured or shamed into giving it up.
Dental problems caused by vigorous thumbsucking do not usually occur until the child’s permanent teeth start to come in at five or six years of age. Even then, there may be no ill effects from thumbsucking as long as it isn’t constant. If you are worried about your child’s thumbsucking, check with your child’s doctor or dentist.