Every Age a Remarkable Stage! Part 1: Terrific Twos!

Your young child’s development year-to-year

Carousel is pleased to bring you a new article series celebrating your young child’s marvelous ages and exciting developmental stages!

Every few weeks we’ll focus on a specific age group and explore the exciting things that are happening in your child’s body and brain.

Though we specialize in 0-3 years, Carousel Teaching System®, our exclusive curriculum, is designed to grow with your child and address the particular needs of every stage, to advance language development, inspire curiosity, and cultivate joy in learning!

We offer captivating online programming with exquisite learning materials for school-age children as well as babies and toddlers—and tailored tutoring available for kids right up through the teen years.

Today we’re focusing on Two Year Olds—be sure to catch all the articles in the series!

The Terrific Twos!

You’ve probably heard this stage referred to as The Terrible Twos

If you’re living with a toddler, some days you really understand how they got that name— and even if your child has outgrown this stage, chances are you won’t ever forget it! But most of the time, your 2-year-old is truly terrific.

The Twos are an intense and miraculous period of physical, cognitive, social-emotional, language, sensory and motor development that takes your child from babe-in-arms to preschooler in a flash.

They’re growing fast, experiencing a whirlwind of brain development, and beginning to take steps toward much greater independence. It’s amazing and delightful! But it can also feel overwhelming and exasperating when your sweet, cooing, smiling baby becomes a willful little person with a lot of new words, big feelings, strong wants, and their “own mind.” It seems to happen overnight.

Remember that this is a normal stage of development. Two-year olds are active and curious, and they have a lot of competing impulses and emotions. It’s their job to explore, try new things, and test boundaries.

Though there are specific milestones and benchmarks to look for along the way, remember that every child is unique! They don’t all do everything at a precise time, or develop skills in the exact same order. Review your child’s progress in all these main areas at his regular checkups—and if you’re ever feeling concerned, talk to your pediatrician.

In this article, we’ll focus on three developmental areas: Social-Emotional, Cognitive, and Language.

Social-Emotional

Your 2-year-old is beginning to develop self-awareness—an understanding that he is an individual, not just a part or extension of you, and that others are individuals too.

At this stage your child is watching you closely. She’s very observant and likes to imitate things you do as you go about your day.

She’s becoming social with her peers. She gets excited to see other children but probably still mostly plays “parallel,” alongside rather than with them. Soon they’ll be playing together.

His behavior may be inconsistent or impulsive. He’s just beginning to see cause and effect in his actions, and he has many conflicting feelings and desires.

Two-year-olds are excited to exercise their independence, but can also be clingy and needy.

Your toddler has a strong sense of what is hers and protects her belongings. Actually, she thinks everything is “mine!” It will take some time to learn to share and take turns.

Toddlers want what they want and they want it now. Sometimes they don’t have the language to express their needs, and sometimes they just can’t have what they want. Does your 2-yearold seem to melt down over absolutely nothing? A 2-year-old’s temper tantrums are his way of expressing frustration with the conflicts he is experiencing. His NO is meant to test you, but it’s also the beginning of learning to set boundaries of his own, which keep him safe and help build healthy relationships.

Cognitive

At two, your child is developing the ability to think for herself and reason.

She’s able to sort objects by shape and color.

If you hide an object, even under multiple covers, she can find it.

By this age, most children are beginning to understand some basic concepts like time— “now,” “later,” or “in a little while”—and opposites, such as or big/small, day/night, hot/cold.

Your 2-year-old can understand simple signals or symbols, such as nodding yes and no.

He can follow simple instructions – Put teddy in the toy box or Sit in your chair. Typically just one step at a time for now, but very soon he’ll be able to follow a small list of instructions, so that by age three he can remember and perform 2-3 steps in a row.

It’s exciting to watch a 2-year-old start to play pretend! Her imagination is expanding like wild during this period and by 3 she’ll have a rich life of make believe. It’s critical to give your child lots of opportunities to play—alone and with others, with lots of unstructured time—this is how she learns to problem-solve, communicate, navigate social dynamics, develop empathy, and so much more!

Language

At 24 months your child is probably saying about 50 words! He knows the names of familiar people, commonly used objects, and some body parts—mama, daddy, cat, dog, milk, juice, truck, tree, head, feet…

He can point to and name these objects in a picture or book.

Of course, his favorite word of all is probably NO! That’s normal. No is how he asserts himself.

Before long, he’ll start to love “Why?” and you’ll hear it a lot!

She’s beginning to speak in short sentences, of 2-4 words, such as more milk, or no nap. Over the next year she’ll begin using complete sentences of 4-5 words or more.

Your 2-year-old will often imitate words he’s heard you say in conversation. (Yep, “Little ears are listening…”)

He may invent some words and mix them in with things you can understand.

By now she can finish songs and rhymes you repeat often, and sentences from favorite books. Offer exciting new books and stories frequently, but keep reading the ones she knows by heart.

Here are ten ideas to encourage your 2-year-old’s development:

1. Involve her in your daily life

Cook, make a list and shop together, tidy up, turn folding the laundry into a sorting game. Praise your child for helping out.

2. Use positive reinforcement

Praise good behavior more often than you punish unwanted behavior.

3. Read, read, read!

Snuggle up with some favorite books daily. Cuddle, hold hands, smile, read with feeling and excitement, laugh together.

4. Go out into nature

Play outside—kick a ball, go on walks, swing, run, and climb.

5. Do simple puzzles

And build towers of blocks!

6. Teach basic vocabulary

Animals, foods, toys, body parts, and so forth. Make a game of it.

7. Create!

Do art projects together, ask them to tell you about what they’ve made. Label your child’s work and hang it up for display.

8. Play games

Try “Simon Says,” “One for You, One for Me,” “Hide and Seek,” and “Stop and Go.”

9. Pretend together

Take the Teddy Bears on a picnic, or to outer space, sail in a tall ship, tiptoe through a snowy woods, or have a fancy tea party. Play dress up. A big cardboard box can be anything. Use your imagination. Make it up as you go along. Let your child take the lead.

10. Sing and move

You don’t have to be a rock star. Just turn up the tunes and move freely, have fun. Dance to your favorite songs and sing along.

And last but not least—

Give your two-year-old the cognitive, creative, and academic benefits of early foreign language exposure—and a passport to Global Citizenship!

Become a part of the Carousel family today.