Parents will be amazed at what their children can do when they reach 24 months of age. This is a time when you will see great advancement in their skills, dexterity, communication, and mobility. It is also the beginning of the “terrible two” phase, so constant attention is essential. Let’s talk about the developmental milestones at 2 years of age.
Key Points of Develop Milestones
- This is a time that kids will be absorbing language and new words like sponges even if they can't repeat everything they hear.
- Their social skills and personalities will begin to shine through more clearly.
- While every child is different and when they hit their milestones will generally be different, they are missing key milestones by a large amount consult your doctor about possible reasons.
Language Skills at 2 Years Old
It is at this age when your child will start to be more vocal than ever before, and they will likely learn a handful of new words. Basic words at this age will include “mama,” “dada”, and “mine,” and animal sounds like “oink” and “moo.” They may also know the names of many simple body parts.
While every kid will be different at this age, most should be capable of saying up to 50 words, give or take. Plus, it is around this time that you will also hear them say a few two and four-word sentences.
Since they are trying to learn the language, you will also see your child try to imitate your words a lot to varying success. It may not always sound like the right word, but you will likely understand what they are trying to say. You also need to be careful because a 2-year-old will often repeat the words that they hear you say. So keep the language tame, so they don’t start repeating bad words.
When they aren’t speaking, your 2-year-old will likely be shaking their head. You will see your child shake their head a lot at this age, especially when they don’t want to eat a meal or listen to one of your directions. Be aware that while you might be able to have simple conversations with your child that does not mean you will be able to negotiate with them if they choose they don't want to listen.
Cognitive Skills at 2 Years Old
You will notice a major improvement in your child’s problem-solving, learning, and reasoning skills at this age. It is at this point that they will start to obey commands better than they did before. At a minimum, most 2-year-olds will be able to follow one-step commands like “pick up your cup.” However, many will also be able to follow two-step commands, like “pick up your cup and put it on the table.”
Also, you will see your child imitate a lot of your behaviors at this age as they might pick up your phone and pretend to talk on it and press buttons, or they might try to feed their doll toys as if it is food. Your child will also get better at building towers, and you can expect them to pile at least four blocks on top of each other without the tower falling. You may also see them start to sort the blocks into different piles according to size and color.
Your 2-year-old will also start pointing a lot at this age. He may point at items he wants, point to parts of his body, or point at you to get your attention. Their memory will also expand at this age as they may remember that items are hidden under blankets and remember where they put miscellaneous toys.
This is called object permanence and is believed to start to develop around the 5-6 month mark. While it's cute to watch them reach for an extra cookie or toy from your hiding place. Object permanence also can lead to separation anxiety as they know that you are somewhere else but they can't see where you've gone to. This generally is only temporary and will pass fairly quickly so you can go back to peeing in peace.
Movement Skills at 2 Years Old
Your child will likely be a ball of energy at this age, so you need to ensure that you have locks on cabinets and gates near stairs, so they don’t get hurt. At this point, your child should be able to walk with some confidence, but even if they still crawl, they will get around easily. They will even have the ability to walk up the stairs, though they will need your support. At a minimum, they will be able to walk up and down the stairs while holding onto the railing.
While every child will be different at this age, many will be able to run from place to place and kick their legs. They should also be able to remove at least one article of clothing, even if it is just a sock or a pair of pants. Some kids will also be able to jump at this point.
You may also see differences in how your kid plays at this age. For starters, they will probably take a liking to climbing on the furniture. Children this age really love to climb over the top of the couch, so be careful. If you haven’t already, make sure to secure your dressers, shelving units, and televisions to the wall, so they don’t tip over if your child climbs on them.
Children will reach other developmental milestones at 2 years of age, including the ability to push and pull their toys more often than they did in the past. Also, when it comes to feeding time, your 2-year-old will likely be able to use a cup and spoon to feed and hydrate themselves at the table.
Emotional and Social Skills at 2 Years Old
While some children are milder than others, you can likely expect some temper tantrums during this second year of age. Sometimes they will use temper tantrums to test you. So, they may throw a toy across the room just to see your reaction. Be cautious about how you react at this time. Get too angry, and they may continue the behavior. This phase will pass.
You may also see that they start to prefer certain toys and people over others. Sometimes you may have times when your child only wants to see her grandparents, and her regular parents just won’t do. It is also at this age that your child may start to show some independence. They may push your hands away and say something like “me do it” when it comes to feeding themselves or buttoning their pants.
However, they won’t always be independent. They may also be more inclined to play with other kids at this age or at least be near other children without the fear they used to show. You may also see them engage in parallel play, where they want to be near another child, but they may play by themselves. They just like being in close proximity.
Average Size at 2 Years Old
Every child will be different, but most will fall into the height and width averages below. If your child is radically above or below these numbers, then consider contacting your pediatrician.
21 to 33½ pounds
19½ to 32½ pounds
32 to 37 inches tall
31½ to 36½ inches tall
What Parents Should Watch Out for at 2 Years Old
Again, each child will likely reach these milestones at slightly different times, but if they aren’t even close to these behaviors or you notice any of the red flags listed below, then consider calling the doctor. It won't always mean there is something wrong with your child but it's better to come up with a plan to correct anything potentially troubling soon.
- Doesn’t use two-word phrases.
- Can't use common objects.
- Doesn’t repeat words or copy actions.
- Can’t walk steadily.
- Doesn’t follow basic directions.
- Loses skills they once had.
So there you have it, the exciting developmental milestones at 2 years of age. This is an exciting time for you and your child, so cherish these moments and look for more great memories to come.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Elena Nichizhenova/Shutterstock.com.