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Your child at 2 years

Your child at 2 years

Time to talk

By the time your child is two, he'll be quite a chatterbox. His language development will probably have followed this sort of pattern:

  • 12 months: he probably recognises his own name and says 'mama' and 'dada'
  • 18 months: he can say up to 20 words but will recognise many more
  • Two years: he can put two words together ('big dog'), but longer sentences probably won't kick in for a while.

It's crucial to remember that talking is a two-way process - a conversation - and it's important that you talk to your child as much as possible, right from birth, and certainly even before he can say any recognisable words. To encourage language development:

  • Chat constantly to your child about what you're doing, where you're going, maintaining eye contact as much as possible.
  • Read books together ??pictures books, pop-up books, noisy books??
  • Sing songs and rhymes ??repetitive, rhythmic songs help language development
  • Always name things repeatedly as you point to them ??'Look at the flower. Can you see the flower? Isn't the flower pretty?'
  • Don't correct or criticise - most two-year-olds will frequently mispronounce words. If your child says a word wrongly (such as 'tat' for 'cat') just say it back correctly ('Do you want to stroke the cat?').
  • Don't have music, the radio or the TV on constantly ??background noise makes learning to talk more difficult.

Bad behaviour

You may have been living with tantrums for a while now (see 18 months) but as your child passes his second birthday, the "terrible twos" might kick in and aggressive behaviour (biting, kicking, pushing) will probably be added to the mix. Remember that lots of toddlers bite or kick or push sometimes ??it doesn't mean yours is going to turn into a thug! Extreme behaviour usually happens because toddlers cannot yet deal with their emotions, so do whatever you can to ease the frustration by talking with your child and giving him lots of opportunity to express himself.

How to cope

As toddlers may not understand that this behaviour hurts, explain it to them carefully and repeatedly. Don't bite or hit back to demonstrate ??that makes the behaviour seem acceptable. Take your toddler out of the situation until he calms down. When you bring him back, tell him if he does it again, he'll be removed again ??and stick to your guns! Make use of the time-out tactic ??if he behaves aggressively, put him on a "naughty step" for a few minutes.

Aggressive behaviour is often attention-seeking, so this will prove it is not a successful tactic. Try to keep your cool ??if necessary walk into another room, as long as your child's safe.