Saturday, 21 September 2013

child development - your 2 year old

photo courtesy of  Alison Squires Photography

The past two years in your child's life have seen them develop and grow at an amazing rate.  Each and every thing they do and experience is forming skills that will stay with them for life.  

While every child is individual and will learn and grow at different rates, there are milestones that your child will reach when they are ready.  

There are five main developmental areas that your child will fine tune and these are:

  1. Physical development  - (fine and gross motor skills)  Fine motor skills are anything that uses small muscles, holding a pencil, using cutlery, pick up small things and doing up buttons.  Gross motor skills are much more physical so running, jumping and climbing, moving large objects around and riding a bike.
  2. Intellectual or cognitive development - this is learning and understanding, so reasoning and problem solving, decision making, showing a preference to a particular toy, understanding that people think differently and the ability to control their emotions and behaviour.
  3. Language and speech - the ability to understand what is said, follow instructions, know when a question is being asked and recognise that an answer is needed and of course expressing their likes and dislikes.
  4. Emotional development - learning to express emotions, to trust and to be wilful.
  5. Social development - developing social skills and emotional development, building friendships and the importance of being likable.

If you look at how far your little person has come in the past two years it is truly amazing what they have achieved.

So how is your little one doing ?  We are currently like you, going through the stroppy stage.   The 'terrible two's' can seem like a constant battle, I know my little princess can be very opinionated and stubborn.  

I have come up with some helpful tips for dealing with temper tantrums and helping them understand a little better.  I hope they can help in some way for you......

avoiding an outburst

we have probably all been out and about with a toddler who is about to have a meltdown, to be fair food shopping or sitting through something boring and grown up is the last thing a small child wants to do, so the best plan is to be prepared.  

  • When you go shopping ask your little one to hold the shopping list, or count things as they go into the trolley or basket.  If they are walking around with you get them to help you find the things you need to buy, or play a game of colours (point out all the red things they can see)

  • If they are playing happily and you need to go out or do something that will take them away from what they are doing, give them a warning explain that in a set amount of time you are going to do something else.

dealing with tantrums - 

a toddler having a tantrum can seem like an impossible situation to diffuse but there are some ways you can help them calm down and listen to you.  

  • Distraction is always a great strategy for calming a child down "look a bird!" "would you like to help me to..."

  • Always remember to stay calm, this not only is showing your little one that you do not need to shout to get what you want they will learn to mirror your behaviour, children learn by example.  Try to ignore less desirable behaviour, if your response is not what your child was hoping for  they will get bored.

  • I am a fan of time out, it gives them a chance to calm down and you too.  This can be used from around the age of two as they are learning about feelings and emotions.  

  • Part of helping your child to understand the world we live in and becoming aware of others is to explain how and why we do things, you will find a little one who is about to have a melt down will usually listen if you say why we don't something instead of just saying 'no'.

Helping them along the way

There are loads of things you can do to help your little one along their amazing path into being their own person and they are all things that can be done all the time.

  • encourage them to decide - instead of asking them what they want, give them a couple of options to choose from.
  • count and name everything when you talk - you will be amazed how quickly a toddler can expand their vocabulary
  • ask them to help you out with little jobs (I have written a post about this which you can read here)
  • encourage self awareness and their self image - put on a sill hat and look at themselves in the mirror or show them pictures of them as a baby and now.
  • Unstructured play is valuable to all areas of development ( i have gone into further detail here), it can help build self esteem, teach them to be independent and self help skills.

Whatever you child is up to at the moment they are on a great journey of discovery about themselves and others.  It is the time to enjoy their little imaginations and to encourage them to be who they are.

Has your little one started doing something that is amazing ? 

Emma x 

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