Everyone warns a mother about the terrible two’s. But why is that? Has the child suddenly decided to become a rebel ?? Well it is quite sad that even after being so educated and literate, we stereotype this particular age milestone of a child.
The world is a big and complicated place, and between 2-to-3 years children are trying to understand the ‘rules’ and how it all makes sense. This is the time when your child is undergoing major changes in brain development, actions and empathy. Toddlers at this stage can follow directions and as their communication skills are more mature, they can already tell you what they want and show you how they feel.
Cognitive Development that you can expect at this stage:
- Pretend Play will be the major part of the child’s daily activities. The pretend play will get more complex and will be filled with more understanding. A child will serve pretend tea to guests and/or dress up as princess and go to a ball.
- The child also starts to recognize fantasy from reality which is critical at this stage. The child starts to understand that movies contain characters, a person dressed as a lion is not a lion and so on.
- Your toddler’s movements are becoming more coordinated and controlled physically. The gross and fine motor skills are now getting refined and delicate.
- The child undergoes a huge language explosion during this time frame in both comprehension and expression. Be ready to be hounded with the frequent “Mumma” and “Papa” calls. (How cute )
- The child progresses from one step instruction to two-step instruction. For example, “Go to the table and get me a pen”.
- The toddler has now gained the power to remember and shall use this to gain experience and learning ability. Exploit this to the fullest.
- Between two and three, children become better problem solvers. They are able to make mechanical toys "work" and can put together puzzles with just a few pieces.
- Your child is starting to understand concepts like time and opposites – for example, big/small and day/night. She’ll also start to point to body parts based on what they do, sort objects, and match shapes and colours.
- Your child will have an increased sense of self awareness of being an individual (particular likes and dislikes) in terms of food, activities and play.
- A child at this age has a concentration span of 5-15 minutes. Do a lot of independent work and sit-down activities with the child to build and lay the foundation required for pre-school.
- Three year olds can usually do some scribbling, lots of lines, dots and circles, but not yet a picture. This is a great time to prepare their pre-writing skills.
- Your toddler would generally face difficulty in seeing a situation from others’ point of view – this is not selfishness, it is because she still thinks that everyone thinks and feels the same as she does.
How you can boost cognitive development:
- Read to your child! He is soaking up so much information at this age. Make sure to have a reading routine embedded into your daily life.
- To enhance pretend play, involve your child in meaningful daily activities like shopping, laundry, cleaning and cooking. This also helps in associating the aspects of reality in day to day learning.
- Give meaning to your child’s talking by listening and talking back to him. If your toddler says ‘Mama milk’, you might reply by saying ‘You want Mum to get you some milk?’ This also makes your child feel valued and loved.
- The toddler will be able to name and identifies objects in pictures, enjoys simple stories and songs. This is the age where the mind of the child is like a sponge. Definitely capitalise on it to the maximum.
- The child will now enjoy and appreciate the sensorial aspects of the materials and environment around her. Let her enjoy the experience of playing with sand, water, dough; exploring what these materials can do more than making things with them.
- Start building on the choice system in your child. By presenting her with choices, you can let your baby take the lead while still staying in control. This is so very important at this stage where the tantrums will be at their peak.
- The child will gradually progress and begin to understand the concept that 2 halves make a 1 whole, complete simple puzzles and play simple board games. Turn this family time which is utmost important at this stage so the child always feels secured and loved.
- Be sure to schedule out playdates with other children when possible. It’s important for them to develop socially and learn the names of others. At this age they will most likely play side by side but not necessarily together. As they approach age 3, they will start to seek out other kids to play with them. But this comes with time.
- By this age, storytelling will be a major part of your child’s life. This will be a part of play as well as reality. The child may also end up making up some false stories for real-life scenarios. Make sure to tactfully handle them as this will lay the foundation of telling lies or being dishonest.
- Encourage everyday skills like using a spoon, putting clothes in a laundry basket after changing, cleaning up after play and putting on shoes. These skills involve both small and big muscle movements, as well as your toddler’s ability to think about what she’s doing.
As your child makes his/her way into the important and vital stage of “ToddlerHood”, you should be ever so patient and loving. Toddlers have high energy levels. They want to do things for themselves. Keep in mind that your child is experiencing all sorts of impulses, but does not yet have control over them. Tantrums are common. Patience is important.