The Behavior of 2 and 3 year old children can really test parents and other family members. This is the time you will see a big change in his relations with other children and adults. His increased understanding and abilities will amaze you.
His physical development will slow down compared to his first 2 years of life, but everything else about him is constantly changing. One moment he will need you very much and the next he will show his will and independence in unexpected ways. “Mine,” “I want,” and “No” may seem to be what he says most often. This is a great time to begin teaching your toddler self-control, but it is unlikely that the lessons will come easily.
Everyone will get along much better if you understand that this is part of your child’s normal behavior. Don’t fight it – accept it. Your reactions to his strong will are important to his development now and later. Your child will feel special and self-confident if you react to this new behavior with respect and encouragement. Strong self-esteem will help him later when he meets other children and starts attending school. It will make him a happier person, too.
This is a good time to review some of the safety issues brought up earlier in this booklet. Families often start to relax as baby becomes a toddler. Is your house still as safe as when your baby was a newborn or just beginning to walk?
Some of the areas you might review include:
- Stairway gates
- Window latches
- Safety plugs in electrical outlets
- Medicines still locked up
- Cleaning products locked or on high shelves
- Emergency numbers like Poison Control Center are close by
- Hot water heater set at below 120ºF
- An adult is with your toddler every time he is in a tub or around water. Do not leave a toddler around water, not even for a second.
How long should you use a car seat?
- In California, the law says that children must ride in a car seat until they are six years old or weigh 60 pounds. This means that children can be either the age or weight requirement.
- The car seat should be in the back seat. That is the only safe place in a car for a child to ride.
- Make sure the car seat is installed correctly. Every ride bus be a safe ride for your child.
Children are little explorers at this age. They want to know how everything works along with what is in every locked cabinet. This is a good time to do another safety check of your home.
This is also a good time to talk to your child about guns. Keep it simple. Tell her she must never, ever touch a gun no matter what. Teach her to tell you if she ever sees a gun in someone else’s home and to never touch that gun either. Then put the gun away in a locked hidden place, with a trigger lock. Keep the bullets in a separate locked place.
It is your responsibility to make sure that guns are not a danger to your child when she is visiting a friend. Ask the parents of the friend if the gun is locked up. Ask if the gun is well hidden from the children. If the answer to either of your questions is no, do not let your child play at the home.
About 378 children under the age of 15 die from gunshot wounds each year in the United States.
Chocking is still a big risk for 2 and 3 year olds. Children at this age need constant reminders to chew their food. There is a big world out there that needs exploring, so sometimes he will gulp his food in hurry to get back to playing. Continue to avoid foods that your child will try to swallow whole or that can block the windpipe.
Some of these dangerous foods include:
- Whole or rounded pieces of hot dogs
- Pieces of meat
- Potato chips
- Cheese cut into cubes
- Nuts, especially peanuts
- Round hard candies
- Melon pieces
- Whole grapes
- Spoonfuls of peanut butter
- Pieces of raw carrots or celery
- Raw cherries
Remember to offer your child a variety of good foods. If she gets used to eating foods that are good for her she will develop healthy eating habits for life. Keep the struggles over fatty, sugary foods to a minimum. Keep those empty-calorie foods out of the house. Too many children would rather eat potato chips, french fries, cookies, sodas and other snacks. It does not have to be this way. Children become addicted to these unhealthy snacks because their parents provide them. Such foods may taste good and fill her up, but they are not good for growing minds and bodies.
—- From First5 Advice for New Parents