What Should My Child Be Doing at 2 Years?

Reviewed on 6/16/2021

At two years old, developmental milestones are directed at behaviors that can display a range of cognitive and physical accomplishments. At 2 years old, your child should be able to walk up the stairs, scribble, run, kick a ball, join in during family mealtimes and other activities.
At two years old, developmental milestones are directed at behaviors that can display a range of cognitive and physical accomplishments. At 2 years old, your child should be able to walk up the stairs, scribble, run, kick a ball, join in during family mealtimes and other activities.

At two years old, developmental milestones are directed at behaviors that can display a range of cognitive and physical accomplishments. As your child continues to grow, you might find their confidence growing, too. Here are some milestones your 24-month-old, or two-year-old, child may have hit or may be working on.

  • Your 24-month-old child can probably walk the stairs one foot at a time and jump with both feet at once.
  • Their vocabulary consists of 50 words or even as many as 100. They may be saying two-word phrases (not to worry if they don’t).
  • Having more confidence in walking, your toddler might be running by now but not always in the direction you want them to go.
  • As they get older, your child’s bladder is getting stronger and their awareness is growing, too. They may start telling you when they feel pressure.
  • Your two-year-old child should normally be able to scribble and draw lines, stack blocks and feed themselves.
  • They should be able to run, kick a ball and walk downstairs.
  • At two years old, your child should have developed enough emotionally to be able to express fear of things such as certain animals and loud sounds.
  • They have developed social skills and can play with other children.
  • Children at this age may have developed considerable thinking and learning skills.
  • They are able to follow two-step commands such as picking up an object and placing it on a shelf.
  • They can name several body parts, pick out pictures from a book and engage in childhood games that involve pretense such as feeding a doll.

Food and nutrition:

  • By this time, your baby may be joining in during family meals. The prospect of eating using cutlery on their own may be exciting for your baby, although they will make a mess.
  • Your baby may develop erratic eating patterns, meaning eating a lot during one meal and then hardly eating anything during the next. Resist the urge to force feed your baby on occasions when they show no inclination to eat.
  • Offering a healthy snack such as a portion of some fruit or piece of cheese to your baby in between mealtimes may prove helpful. You can also try raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumber sticks or slices of tomato.
  • Try to offer low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese. Doctors recommend kids who are one to three years old get 700 mg of calcium per day. Fat should account for less than 30 percent of your toddler's daily calories.
  • Two-year-old kids should continue to eat three meals per day plus two snacks. Offer them various foods in all food groups—vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy daily.

Sleep schedule:

  • Most 24-month-old kids need around 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep plus a nap of about 1.5 to 3 hours, for a total of about 13 to 14 hours of sleep per day.

Because each child develops at their own particular pace, it's impossible to tell exactly when your child will perfect a given skill. Developmental milestones will give you a general idea of changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don't be alarmed if they take a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician, however, if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Cannot walk by 18 months old.
  • Fails to develop a mature heel-toe walking pattern after several months of walking or walks exclusively on their toes.
  • Does not speak at least 15 words by 18 months old.
  • Does not use two-word sentences by the age of two years old.
  • Does not seem to know the function of common household objects (brush, telephone, bell, fork and spoon) by 15 months old.
  • Does not imitate actions or words by the end of this period.
  • Does not follow simple instructions by the age of two years old.
  • Cannot push a wheeled toy by the age of two years old.
  • Lacks eye contact.
  • Avoids being around people.

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References
WebMD: "You're Child at 2: Milestones." https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/child-at-2-milestones

WebMD: "Developmental Milestones: 2 Year Olds." https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Developmental-Milestones-2-Year-Olds.aspx

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