Children & Adolescents Clinic

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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
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Well Child Care at 2 Years


Family meals are important for your child. Letting your child eat with you makes her feel like part of the family. Don't make mealtime a battle. Let your child feed herself. Your toddler will continue to improve using the spoon, with fewer and fewer spills. It is good to let your child help choose what foods to eat. Be sure to give her only nutritious foods to choose from. Now is the time to switch from whole milk to 2% milk.

It is very important for your child to be completely off a bottle. Ask your doctor for help if she is still using one.

Development and Discipline

At this age, children often say "no" or refuse to do what you want them to do. This normal phase of development involves testing the rules that parents make. Parents need to be consistent in following through with reasonable rules. Your rules should not be too strict or too lenient. Enforce the rules fairly every time. Be gentle but firm with your child even when the child wants to break a rule. Many parents find this age difficult, so ask your doctor for advice on managing behavior.

Here are some good methods for helping children learn about rules and to keep them safe:

  1. Child-proof the home. Go through every room in your house and remove anything that is either valuable, dangerous, or messy. Preventive child-proofing will stop many possible discipline problems. Don't expect a child not to get into things just because you say no.

  2. Divert and substitute. If a child is playing with something you don't want him to have, replace it with another object or toy that he enjoys. This approach avoids a fight and does not place children in a situation where they'll say "no."

  3. Teach and lead. Have as few rules as necessary and enforce them. These rules should be rules important for the child's safety. If a rule is broken, after a short and clear explanation, punish immediately by having the child sit alone for 2 minutes. It is very important that punishment come immediately after a rule is broken.

  4. Be consistent with discipline. Don't make threats that you cannot carry out. If you say you're going to do it, do it.

Some children at this age are showing signs that they are ready for toilet training. When your child starts reporting wet or soiled diapers to you, this is a sign that your child prefers to be dry. Praise your child for telling you. Toddlers are naturally curious about other people using the bathroom. If your child seems curious, let him go to the bathroom with you. Buy a potty chair and leave it in a room in which your child usually plays. It is important not to put too many demands on the child or shame the child about toilet training. When your child does use the toilet, let him know how proud you are.

Spend time teaching your child how to play. Encourage imaginative play and sharing of toys, but don't be surprised that 2-year-olds usually do not want to share toys with anyone else. If you are going to allow television viewing, watch children's shows with your child.

Mild stuttering is common at this age. It usually goes away on its own by the age of 4 years. Do not hurry your child's speech. Ask your doctor about speech problems if you are worried about them.

For more information see:

Normal Development: 2 Years

Toilet Training Basics

Safety Tips

Prevent Fires and Burns

  • Practice your fire escape plan.
  • Check your smoke detectors. Replace the batteries if necessary.
  • Check food temperatures carefully. They should not be too hot.
  • Don't smoke near children.
  • Keep hot appliances and cords out of reach.
  • Keep all electrical appliances out of the bathroom.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach.
  • Don't allow your child to use the stove, microwave, hot curlers, or iron.
  • Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees F (50 degrees C).

Car Safety

  • Use an approved toddler car seat correctly.
  • Sometimes toddlers may not want to be placed in car seats. Gently but consistently put your child into the car seat every time you ride in the car.
  • Give the child a toy to play with once in the seat.
  • Parents wear seat belts.
  • Never leave your child alone in car.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Hold onto your child when you are near traffic.
  • Provide a play area where balls and riding toys cannot roll into the street.

Prevent Drowning

  • Continuously watch your child around any water.

Avoid Falls

  • Teach your child not to climb on furniture or cabinets.
  • Lock doors to dangerous areas like the basement.

Next Visit

A once-a-year check-up is recommended. Before starting school your child will need more vaccinations.

Written by Robert Brayden, M.D.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems