Nutrition for a 2-Year Old
Happy Birthday to your two-year-old! By now your child should be fairly efficient at feeding themself. Family meals are important to help your child learn. Most of your child’s time at the table will be spent talking or playing. A decreased appetite is common as children begin to control what they eat. It is important to offer a variety of healthful foods and allow them to pick and choose what is eaten. Do not give your child junk food or offer desserts as an incentive for eating dinner. Remember, you cannot control how much your child eats, but you can control what your child does not eat. Now is the time to switch to 1%, 1/2%, or skim milk. Offer your child between 2 and 3 cups per day. You may use a multivitamin if you wish. Fluoride may be supplemented if your well tests negative for fluoride.
Development and Behavior for a 2-Year Old
Two-year-old children assert their independence at every opportunity! They have great difficulty with impulse control and cannot anticipate consequences. A favorite word is often “no” and a favorite game is testing the limits. Offer choices frequently to give your child some sense of control. Be consistent and establish general guidelines for your child’s behavior. When a rule is broken, be firm but kind and have a consequence already in mind. Make sure your expectations are reasonable and your child is able to comply with most requests. Teach your child the expected behavior, rather than focus on punishing your child. This can be a challenging age. If you are having difficulties, ask your provider for advice on behavior management. Let your child know, by example, that reading is better than TV. Limit TV/screen time to less than 2 hours/day.
Children respond to and prefer routines. Set regular bedtimes, mealtimes and nap times for your child. Two-year old children should sleep about 10 to 12 hours per night and have a 1 to 2 hour nap. A special blanket or stuffed animal can help children who have difficulty getting to sleep. If your child uses a pacifier, it is time to break this habit!
Many children start showing an interest in toilet-training at this age. Your child may tell you about a wet or dirty diaper and show an interest in the use of the bathroom. Let your child take the lead in toilet training and avoid putting too much pressure on your child. If your child feels you are trying to control him or her, you may see an increase in resistance. Step back and avoid creating a power struggle. When your child is ready, they will toilet-train quickly.
Safety for a 2-Year Old
It is time for your child to face forwards! Always place your child in the back seat in a forward facing carseat. Be sure to wear your seat belt and never leave your child alone in the car. Never place your child in a seat with an airbag. Supervise all outside play and closely observe water play. As your child learns to climb, you may want to move your child to a youth or twin bed with rails. Toddlers are very curious and love to explore. If the environment is child-proof, let your child explore freely. This is the way they learn new things. Keep plastic bags, balloons, and small objects out of reach.
Lock all medicines, vitamins, cleaning supplies and poisons away. Keep the poison control center number 1-800-848-6946 next to your phone. Remember, we no longer recommend Syrup of Ipecac or Activated Charcoal for poisoning. Remember to check batteries regularly in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Children love to explore the outdoors. Make it safer by fencing the yard, and keeping children inside when lawn mowers or other machinery are used. Inside, check the stability of drawers, tall furniture and lamps. Make sure windows are closed or have screens that cannot be pushed out. When outside, use sunscreen SPF 30 or higher and sun protective clothing.
Health Maintenance and Shots for a 2-Year Old
No immunizations or laboratory studies are scheduled if your child is up-to-date. We recommend your child see a dentist for routine checkups. Today your child’s blood may be tested for anemia and lead.
At 36 months your child will receive a checkup, and be measured for height, weight and blood pressure. No immunizations will be given if your child is up-to-date. Call our office at any time if you have any questions or concerns.