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Your toddler now
Your child may be learning as many as ten new words a day now. Here are some of the language skills you can expect from your child by around age 2:
- Forms two- to four-word sentences ("Bird fly high.")
- Sings simple songs
- Follows simple instructions
- Uses pronouns, though not always correctly ("Me do it" instead of "Jake do it," but probably not "I do it")
- Repeats words heard in conversations
- Recognizes names of people, things, and parts of the body
Encourage budding verbal skills by continuing to read often with your toddler. Reading introduces new nouns, verbs, and ideas your child might not encounter in everyday life (such as a tiger in the jungle). Books with wordplay such as rhymes help kids make associations between like words.
I think it's important for us to eat together as a family, but that doesn't happen until late. So I feed the girls a snack between 5 and 5:30 p.m., and then we eat dinner together at 7:15.
With your toddler's birthday on the horizon, you're probably wondering how best to celebrate. Two-year-olds love the festivity of cake, candles, balloons, and presents. On the flip side, they're easily overwhelmed by too much of anything. That includes too many guests and too much noise.
The most successful birthday parties for 2-year-olds tend to be small, simple, and brief. A common rule of thumb is one child guest per year of age. So a 2-year-old would have two guests around his age. And a couple of hours is plenty of time.
Simple pastimes like blowing bubbles or swinging are still his idea of a blast. Schedule festivities for before the afternoon nap or at dinnertime (but wrap things up well before bedtime so he's not too stimulated to fall asleep).
If you plan something more ambitious, keep your expectations for the birthday boy or girl low. Don't count on kids this age being a gracious center of attention. Special features like clowns or magicians may frighten them, and they may or may not choose to participate in games. There will be plenty of time for parties with organized activities when your child is older.
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