Turning 2 years old is a big day for a child. But what does it mean for their parents? Well, a lot of things. First of all, this child has officially become a toddler. Secondly, they are about to face a huge number of behavioral, psychological, emotional, and physical changes. Thirdly, they develop quite a few new skills. And fourthly, this is the time when the child's character is starting to take shape and turn them into an individual human being who can't be compared to anyone else.
Sounds huge, huh? Sure, it is huge, and it means moms should also change a lot when their baby turns 2 and, well, stops being a baby, technically speaking. Parents should stop limiting their kids so much and start giving them more freedom to express themselves and to explore the world. They should encourage the development of new skills by letting them do some things by themselves. And they should also talk to them differently so that they can see that they are slowly turning into adults (yes, someday this kid will become an adult, however hard it is to imagine at the moment).
So this guide is for the parents whose kids are about to become 2-year-olds, and it tells what they should stop doing at this important stage of a tot's life to help them develop better and faster.
20 Gradually Reduce The Nap Time
One of the other things you should change when your baby turns 2 is the amount of nap time they have during the day. Before then, they probably had at least two naps per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but now it's time to cut it down to only one nap in the afternoon.
However, it's all individual and you should watch your baby to see what makes them more comfortable. "Most toddlers this age still need at least one hour-long nap in the afternoon, which may actually help your child fall asleep more quickly and efficiently at night," say specialists on Baby Center. "Even if yours doesn't, a little quiet time — for her and you — won't hurt."
19 Stop The Baby Talk
Until now, you've been cooing with your child and using made-up words to talk about everyday objects and actions. For example, when speaking about food, you'd say "yum yum", when speaking of taking a bath, you'd go "splash splash," and so on. It was easier for your kid to understand you and, let's be honest, it was so cute!
But when your child is 2, it's time to use more adult words and less baby talk. At this time, their brain develops incredibly fast and it's ready for new information. So use proper sentences, give normal names to objects around you, and talk properly to help their language skills develop faster.
18 Don't Prevent Your Kid From Exploring The World
Toddlers are very curious. They want to know so many things and they want to explore everything they see. And at this point, they get the skills that allow them to do so.
So keep in mind that as soon as your child learns to walk, they will move around a lot. It's not only normal when they do it, but it's also necessary for them. As per Baby Center, "By now a toddler has more control over his arms and legs, and is better coordinated overall. He should be able to kick a ball effortlessly, build block towers, climb furniture, jump, and walk up and down stairs. Make sure he has plenty of opportunities to move and explore."
17 Brushing Teeth Becomes More Important
Since by the age of two your child will consume more quantity and variety of foods, it's high time to start watching their oral hygiene more closely. According to Moms, doctors recommend using fluoride-free organic toothpaste that will promote the healthy growth of their teeth.
Besides, it's also the time for your kid to start brushing their teeth by themselves. Kids Health advises to get them a soft brush and teach them to squeeze out a small amount (around the size of a pea) of toothpaste. For now, you should still watch your child while they're brushing their teeth and guide them to ensure that they do it properly.
16 Stop Talking For Your Kid
Your toddler is only learning to speak at 2 years of age, but it doesn't mean that you have to always talk for them, as you did when they couldn't speak at all. They already know some of the words that signify everyday objects and actions, they know their name and age, and they should be able to start speaking for themselves.
In fact, Pampers even recommends talking to a pediatrician if a 2-year-old child "can't be understood or get his message across to strangers half of the time." So encourage your toddler to figure out how to speak and explain their point. It'll help them convey their message better in the future.
15 Stop Using Pacifiers And Bottles
A pacifier is called a pacifier for a reason. It helps your fussy child calm down, even when everything else, from breastfeeding to walking in a stroller, doesn't seem to work. It can be of great help to parents, but it's important not to misuse it.
It's recommended to limit the use of pacifier when the child turns two years old, dental specialists say, and by the time your kid turns 4, you should stop using it completely. Otherwise, it can lead to such dental issues as protruding front teeth and crossbite.
So however pacifying a pacifier is, begin weaning your baby off of it when they turn 2.
14 Minimize Your Child's Screen Time
If, instead of using a pacifier, you preferred to keep your baby quiet with the help of an electronic babysitter (aka, your phone, tablet, or any other device), better stop doing it, or at least don't do it as often as before. In fact, the AAP recommends keeping kids aged 18 months and younger away from all kinds of screen. And when the child 2 years old, they can "get no more than an hour of screen time per day."
In case things have been different for you in the first two years of your child's life, it's high time introduce some corrections at this moment. Besides, to further help your baby's development, choose only the best and most useful programs and shows when you do give them some screen time.
13 A 2-Year-Old Should Fall Asleep By Themselves
At 2 years of age, your child needs to start learning how to fall asleep by themselves (if they haven't learned it yet). It's an important skill for their future life, because, biologically speaking, we all need to know how to get back to sleep, when we wake up in the middle of the night, and we have to be able to fall asleep by ourselves in our own bed.
So even though you must love holding your little one in your arms and watch them fall asleep comfortably while you're rocking them, think about how you're going to do it when your toddler turns, say, 5 years old and becomes... not so little. Unless you want the hands of Hulk, you better stop doing it. Now.
12 Don't Be Too Protective
It's natural to be protective of your children. Even our DNA is programmed to protect and nurture our offspring. But... there is a huge difference between being protective and being OVERprotective.
We should always see the line between the two because otherwise, we do more harm than good to our children. Overprotecting your child is like clipping their wings out of a desire to keep them safe. Yes, they will be safe, but they won't be able to fly. It's not what you want for your kids.
So starting from an early age, let your child have fun, experiment, and, yes, even get hurt once in a while. Bruised shoulders and scraped knees are nothing compared to the experience your kid will get.
11 Watch Your Language And Don't Argue
At this age, kids learn to listen more than before and they also tend to repeat your behavior, because you're their first and foremost role model. So if you want your tot to behave well, you should watch your own behavior, as well.
For starters, remember Captain America's famous phrase and "watch your language." Don't use swear words, unless you want your kid to use them and teach everyone else in their daycare to do it, too. Trust me, daycare staff and other parents won't be happy about it.
And, even more importantly, never argue in front of your kids. Not only is it psychologically disturbing, but it also sets a bad example. I mean, the kid might think, "Oh, mommy is throwing a tantrum, so I can do it, too!"
10 Stop Giving In
Speaking of tantrums, we should mention that it's a normal way of expressing frustration and other negative emotions at the age of 2. And when these pitiful cries and wailing screams begin, most parents want nothing but to give in and just let their child have something they want, just to stop it all.
But it's actually the worst thing to do in this situation because it'll make your child believe that throwing a tantrum is a sure-fire way to get what they want and they'll use this opportunity to the fullest. So avoid giving in to their cries and talk to your pediatrician to find a healthier method of dealing with your toddler's tantrums.
9 Don't Think Changes Won't Affect Your Baby
You shouldn't think that your 2-year-old child is too little to understand what's going on around them and no changes will affect them in any way. In fact, such events as getting back to work, moving to another house, having another baby, dealing with an illness, or separating with your partner, are almost as huge for your child as they are for you.
Your toddler certainly sees that something is going on and you should talk to them about it to explain what's happening and how it affects their life. How to do it? Talk to your pediatrician and they will suggest the best ways for you to deal with your situation.
8 Know About The Emotional Development
The age of 2 is one of the most important periods for your tot's emotional development. According to WebMD, this is the time when the child begins to show their growing independence and increasing defiance. They also become more aware of themselves as a separate being from others and get excited when seeing other children.
But still, this is the stage when your kid thinks that the world is turning around them. It means that such concepts as sharing don't make a lot of sense to them. At this point in time, it's normal, but this is also something that you should start working on. Gradually, you'll explain the notion of sharing to your child and they'll finally get what it means.
7 Stop Playing Too Much With Them
During the first weeks and months of your child's life, you've been guarding them from the outside world, but after their second birthday, this shield has to fall (at least a little bit), because your child needs interaction with others. They don't have to play only with you all the time, but they must have a chance to play with their peers, as well.
Arrange play dates with your friends, arrange tea parties, take your child out to the playground, and walk in a park with them. Give them the chance to interact and play with other kids. After all, making friends is a very important skill, isn't it?
6 Don't Delay Potty Training
At 2 years of age, most children are ready to start potty training. Look out for the special signs in your kid to know that you can finally begin. For example, if you see that your tot is showing interest in others using a toilet (for example, they watch you going to the bathroom or their older sibling sitting on a potty chair), it's time to talk about it.
Besides, by the time your kid is ready to use the potty, they should be able to pull their pants up and down by themselves and they should know that there's a connection between wanting to pee or poop and actually peeing and pooping.
But if your child doesn't show these signs right after their second birthday, it's okay to wait some more.
5 Never Ignore Your Baby's Behavior
As per NHS, your 2-year-old toddler and you will have to see a pediatrician, so that they can see that your child is developing properly. Among other things, your kid's "speech, social skills and behavior" will be evaluated. This is the meeting, where you are supposed to share all your concerns about your toddler (if you have any) and tell about what behavior they are exhibiting.
Sometimes, especially if you're a first-time mom, you'll see that your toddler's behavior is different from what it was before and you don't know whether it's normal. It's one of the things you should share instead of just ignoring the behavior and assuming that it'll get better by itself.
4 Don't Show Them The "Right Way"
Have you got used to showing your child how to play with their toys? When your kid turns 2, it's time to stop doing it (unless the little one asks to help), because they have fine motor skills developed enough to start figuring out things by themselves.
So stop standing over your kid's shoulders while they're playing, don't show them the "right way" to play with their toys, and never play for them. Let them develop their own creativity and give a boost to their imagination. After all, who knows – perhaps your child will find a better way to play than you could ever do.
3 Nutrition Habits Are Changing
Here comes the picky eater... Of course, it's not 100% certain that your child will become one, but if they will, it's likely to happen at this age. It's common for 2-year-old toddlers to skip meals once in a while and change their tastes every now and then. So don't be surprised if your child likes some food one day and hates it the next. It's normal.
Still, be sure to plan three wholesome meals a day, plus two healthy snacks. Avoid sugary drinks and other foods with too much sugar. Be in charge of the menu, but let your baby be in charge of how much they want to eat. Don't force them to eat more (or less).
2 And You Don't Have To Always Feed Them
Some of us don't let our kids eat by themselves not because we think that they can't do it yet, but because we assume that feeding them is less time-consuming than cleaning up after they ate by themselves. And this is where we mess up big time (although we just try not to mess up our kitchens).
Imagine that 5 years have passed and your child still eats only when you put a spoon in their mouth, only because you didn't give them a chance to learn. And in the meantime, your friend's baby, who threw food all over the place, can now consume the entire plate by themselves without any help from mom. Which option is better?
1 Stop Blindly Taking Other People's Advice
Is there anyone else in the world, who knows your child better than you do? Hardly. Being your kid's mother, seeing them grow and develop every single day, and having this mother instinct living inside of you, do you really think that there is another person in the world, who knows what exactly your tot needs?
So stop blindly following the advice given by others (even if it's your doctor or your friend who has five kids) and do your own thing. Sure, these people might actually know what they're talking about, but is it 100% certain that what they advise is good for your child? Only a mom knows.
Sources: Parents, Baby Center, Aha! Parenting, Moms, Kids Health, Pampers, Understood, Raising Children, WebMD, NHS