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Children from 2 to 3 years

Like a busy bee flitting from flower to flower, your 2-year-old may never spend much time on one activity.

This perpetual running, jumping, kicking and climbing helps children strengthen their bodies and develop better coordination. And a short attention span is normal at this age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Hop, skip and jump away

Children need very little help finding ways to develop their motor skills. But it's important that you provide a safe environment for their experiments.

Take children to the park, playground or out in the yard to provide them with the wide-open space they need to play safely.

Despite their independence, their judgment is still immature. It's important to keep an eye on them to prevent injuries.

At this age, children love getting piggyback rides, going down small slides and rolling on mats.

Crayon masterpieces

By age 2, your child can manipulate small objects easily. He or she can turn the pages of a book, pull shoes off, unzip a large zipper, turn a doorknob and use a cup with one hand.

Providing children with blocks or interlocking construction sets can keep them entertained for long periods.

One of the big accomplishments during this time will be your child's ability to hold a crayon and draw simple pictures.

Something to say

Over time, your child's sentences will progress from two- or three-word constructions to four-, five- or six-word sentences.

Some children are naturally more talkative than others but that doesn't mean they have richer vocabularies. As with adults, some children are choosy about when they speak.

Read often

Children are now able to follow storylines and will remember ideas and information from books.

Choose books that allow your child to point at pictures or name things. As they approach age 3, children enjoy books that play with language, including silly sounds or jokes.

Rehearsing roles

As children engage in imaginary play, you will notice them putting together sequences of activities, such as putting a doll to bed, covering it up or feeding it. They may also act out a daily routine, such as taking a bath, going to bed or eating a meal. You may be surprised to hear them imitating your tone and exact words when playing the parent role.

The social self

A popular word during this stage of development is "mine!" Children at this age tend to view the world in very selfish terms. It's normal for your 2-year-old to snatch toys from other children or play next to them without interacting. There is a wide range of normal social behaviors at this age, from active and aggressive to shy and quiet.

Reviewed 3/3/2024

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