Your Child at Two Years

What Most Children Do at this Age:

Social/Emotional

  • Copies others, especially adults and older children
  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows more and more independence
  • Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games

Language/Communication

  • Points to things or pictures when they are named
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Says sentences with 2 to 4 words
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation
  • Points to things in a book

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  • Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books
  • Plays simple make-believe games
  • Builds towers of 4 or more blocks
  • Might use one hand more than the other
  • Follows two-step instructions such as “Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”
  • Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog

Movement/Physical Development

  • Stands on tiptoe
  • Kicks a ball
  • Begins to run
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Makes or copies straight lines and circles

The Milestone Child Development Chart is shown Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

What You Can Do for Your Two-Year-Old:

  • Encourage your child to help with simple chores at home, like sweeping and making dinner. Praise your child for being a good helper.
  • At this age, children still play next to (not with) each other and don’t share well. For play dates, give the children lots of toys to play with. Watch the children closely and step in if they fight or argue.
  • Give your child attention and praise when he/she follows instructions. Limit attention for defiant behavior.
  • Spend a lot more time praising good behaviors than punishing bad ones.
  • Teach your child to identify and say body parts, animals, and other common things.
  • Do not correct your child when he/she says words incorrectly. Rather, say it correctly. For example, “That is a ball.”
  • Encourage your child to say a word instead of pointing. If your child can’t say the whole word (“milk”), give him/her the first sound (“m”) to help.
  • Over time, you can prompt your child to say the whole sentence, “I want milk.”
  • Hide your child’s toys around the room and let him/her find them.
  • Help your child do puzzles with shapes, colors, or farm animals. Name each piece when your child puts it in place.
  • Encourage your child to play with blocks. Take turns building towers and knocking them down.
  • Do art projects with your child using crayons, paint, and paper. Describe what your child makes and hang it on the wall or refrigerator.
  • Ask your child to help you open doors and drawers and turn pages in a book or magazine.
  • Once your child walks well, ask him/her to carry small things for you.
  • Kick a ball back and forth with your child. When your child is good at that, encourage him/her to run and kick.
  • Take your child to the park to run and climb on equipment or walk on nature trails. Watch your child closely.