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NYS Parent Guide

24-36 Months: Growth and Development

You and Your Terrific Two-Year-Old

Nurturing Your Child

Nurturing Your Child

By age two, your toddler is able to rely not only on you but on other trusted adults in her life. Sometimes, she may even seem to prefer someone other than you. Don’t be offended: that’s normal development. She is busy figuring out where she fits in this world and what relationships are all about. You remain her constant, trusted and well-loved parent.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Comfort her. Toddlers’ feelings can be very intense—even when they are happy and excited. And losing control can be frightening to a toddler. Your toddler needs your loving reassurance both in touch and words so she knows she is still loved and lovable.
  • Continue to observe and learn so that you can respond to her unique needs and strengths. For example, by observing what triggers frustration and “meltdowns” (e.g., lack of sleep, change in routine, eating candy) you can learn how to avoid or deal with those triggers. Knowing what she is currently interested in (sweeping with a toy broom, throwing a ball, reading stories about animals) allows you to focus on her interests. That tells her that you value her and what is important to her at that moment.
  • Help her learn about feelings. Give names to feelings: “I know
    it makes you sad to have to stop playing but we have to go to
    the store right now.” Separate her feelings from her behavior.
    “I know you feel sad (feeling) but you must not throw (behavior)
    your toy at me.” Talk about the feelings of the characters in
    books and as you play together. (“Your doll looks sad.” “Mr. Moose
    is smiling.”) Look in a mirror together and take turns making
    faces (sad, happy, scared).
  • Be a model. Behave the way you want her to behave. She
    listens to you and watches you carefully. She will copy what she
    sees and hears. So as you interact with her and other people
    remember, she is watching.

Useful Resources

Questions about your child’s development?

If you have questions about your child’s development, talk to his doctor or child care provider. You can also call NYS Growing Up Healthy to find your local Early Intervention Program. The Early Intervention Program is a statewide program which helps parents know if their child needs extra support and makes sure families get the help they need.

NYS Growing Up Healthy:



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Did you know

In order to develop normally, a child requires progressively more complex interaction with one or more adults who have an emotional relationship with the child. “Somebody’s got to be crazy about that kid. That’s number one. First, last, and always.” URIE BROFFENBRENNER, NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL ON THE DEVELOPING CHILD, 2004.