Understanding Your Two Year Old Baby
Posted by Amin Dino, December 1, 2012
Many two-year-olds are passionate little people. Being caught in the transition between baby and child means that your toddler can be hard work and then delightful, both in the space of a few minutes.
Two-year-olds tend to approach problems head-on in all areas of their lives, whether it's pushing a wheelbarrow or dealing with bolshie parents. Working round something or being flexible is just not an option. Your toddler gives every impression of being unreasonable whereas, in fact, she is incapable of reason — quite a different thing.
Toddlers of this age are usually egocentric, unable to see anyone else's point of view or feelings. And this can make life tough for everyone concerned. But as happens across all areas of development — new abilities, new sensitivities, first appear in familiar situations. Your toddler may talk appropriately to the baby because she's used to seeing babies as different from other people. Or she may occasionally react to anger or tears in your family by trying to comfort the person who is upset. This may be the beginnings of empathy or it may be your toddler responding to the unhappiness she experiences inside herself, by comforting her brother or sister as she would like to be comforted.
It's an emotional time. Although she'll start to play with other children at this stage, she won't be mature enough, on the whole, to understand that they have feelings too. She may snatch toys or hit and bite other children, cause a commotion and may even enjoy it all!
By two, toddlers' memories are much improved, especially for the things which interest them. They remember well which buttons to press to watch their video, and which cupboard to open to find the biscuits.
Toddlers of this age have the growing ability to imagine familiar objects when they are not there and to make plans about them. This is both wonderful and dreadful. Wonderful because it increases the potential for real relationships, which extend beyond one session at the toddler group — and games which can be left while she rushes to the loo and picked up again immediately afterwards. But dreadful because once she has imagined something, your toddler is unable to wait for that thing to happen. She has no concept of the day after tomorrow and in fact 'this afternoon' might we flummox her were it not for the explanatory term 'after lunch'.
Most toddlers are quick to pick up new words, and quick to integrate them into their monologues. By the time they reach two, many toddlers are able to use words to refer to things which they cannot see and most are good communicators — using a mix of spoken words, gestures and actions to express themselves. But your toddler still relies on you to do what comes naturally and speak to her in simple sentences, which are one step ahead of what she can produce herself: 'Please come and have your bath now.' 'Can you wash your face?'
In fact, toddlers themselves employ a special sort of language when they talk to a younger child. For example, your toddler will use more repetitive and attention-eliciting words (like 'look!') when she talks to her younger brother or sister than she does when she talks to an adult.