These skills tend to be quite variable. But at this age the typical child:
- May have a vocabulary of at least 20 words and begin to make two-word phrases although speech may be quite variable at this time.
- Will climb stairs alone one step at a time holding onto a rail.
- Should respond to two-part commands.
- Enjoys imitating adults.
- Should use a toy appropriately.
- Should open doors, climb on furniture, kick a ball, use a spoon and cup well.
Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:
- Guard against falls from counter and table tops, don't leave a chair were it can be used to climb to a higher spot.
- Prevent electrical injuries; use cord shorteners and outlet covers.
- Discuss water safety; knowing how to "swim" does not make a child water-safe.
- Lock up toxic substances; label poisons with "Mr. Yuk."
- Remove suffocation hazards such as plastic bags and latex balloons.
- Don't leave a child unattended in a car or house.
- Don't let a child play unsupervised near a street since it is hard at this age to remember hazards or danger.
- Use a car seat.
- Children should not be allowed near running machinery, lawn mowers, snowblowers, power tools and cars backing up.
- Prevent burns by turning pot handles on a stove inward, turning water heater temperature down and keeping hot appliances like irons and curling irons away from prying hands.
These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:
- Read with your child and discuss picture books.
- Talk at the table during meals.
- Have your child play with interactive toys such as ones they can push or musical toys.
- Provide age-appropriate peers for playing.
- Provide space and encouragement for physical activity.
- Limit television.
- Offer praise.
- Show affection, affirm your child with both words and touch throughout the day.
Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:
- Offer a balanced meal even if your child tends to be selective in food choices.
- Fluoride supplementation should be continued in the abscence of natural or artificial fluoridation in water.
- Encourage your child to feed herself or himself.
- Brush your child's teeth twice a day with only a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
- Use skim milk and encourage a low-fat diet (30 % of daily calories).
- Avoid non-nutritious snacks.
- Childhood behavior may go from one extreme to another. This age is no exception:
- Don't expect a child this age to do true "sharing" or play by the rules.
- Napping times vary; some children are still on their "baby" schedule, some take no naps.
- Some children may express interest in the toilet; they should be encouraged, not instructed.
- Genital curiosity is not unusual.
- Do not talk down to your child.
- Do not belittle your child.
- Be realistic in demands.
- Your child will test you so don't be afraid to set limits.
- Establish a nighttime ritual.
- Be consistent.
The following items may be useful:
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child:Birth to Age Five ( Bantam Books)
- Briggs, Dorothy Corkville. Your Child's Self-Esteem
- Cole, Joanna. The Parent's Book of Toilet Training
- Faber, Adele. Siblings Without Rivalry
- Larson, David E. Mayo Clinic Family Health Book. 2nd Ed. William Morrow & Co., Inc., NY, c 1996.
- Lasky, Vicki. Practical Parenting: Toilet Training
- Nelson, Jane. Positive Discipline
- White, Burton. The First Three Years of Life: A Guide to Physical, Emotional and Intellectual Growth in Your Baby. Avon, 1984.