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Raising terrific two year olds

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Two is typically a time of self discovery, exploration of physical limits and a huge increase in talking. It’s a stage that comes with quite a reputation – think ‘terrible twos’ or ‘taming toddlers’ – but in many ways this stage is calmer and more fun than the previous twelve months when they went from baby to toddler. Here are some ideas to help:

1. Say hello to Mr or Miss Independent

Two-year-olds struggle to be independent: “I can do it myself” is something you’ll hear them say quite often.  

2. Be prepared for interesting behaviour

It helps to remember that toddlers wear ‘L’ plates when it comes to learning how to behave.

3. Help them curb any aggression

Aggressive behaviour toward others happens commonly during this stage. Primitive language, impulsiveness (I want therefore I do) and a wish to be independent can combine into physicality.

4. Tame a tantrum or two

Children at this age can increasingly hear and understand what you say but are unable to articulate their own thoughts and feelings. This can cause frustration that is expressed through a tantrum.

5. Handle those “NOOOOOOs”

Two can also be the age of refusal – the age of ‘No’. Choose battles wisely.

6. Start the helping habit

Two-year-olds generally like to please you by being useful. Let them tag along with you while you do household jobs such as washing, cooking and packing the dishwasher, and let them join in when appropriate.

7. Talk with your two year old.

A two-year-old’s vocabulary grows from around 50 words to over 300 in the twelve months before they turn three. At the end of this year many can carry on a conversation, which is quite a breakthrough.

8. Start getting social (if you haven’t already)

Help your child become social by providing opportunities to mix with other children and encourage them to share their belongings, but be mindful that there are many things they don’t and won’t want to share.

9. Build their confidence ... and yours

Their confidence and self-esteem is linked to how you see yourself, which is paradoxical because some two-year-olds can make parents feel very inadequate.

10.Remember, their developing brain loves stability

While stability is always important for children, at this age it is perhaps more important than ever. There is enough going on as their brain develops – they don’t need a chaotic environment to add to the load.

This is an extract from the Developmental Parenting Planner for raising two year olds that's available for Parentingideas Club members. Find out more.

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