Two-year-olds are physically active people who are learning to communicate, socialize and become independent.

Checklist of Two-Year Old Milestones

by Kelly O'Brien Ritchie

Two-year-olds go through a lot of changes emotionally, physically and socially. It is an exciting and overwhelming time for parents and their children. As rewarding as these milestones are, they can be challenging. You might wonder whether children commonly snatch their favorite toys away from their friends, refuse to leave the park when it is time or draw pictures you actually recognize. Milestones are provided as a guideline rather than a rule.


Two-year-olds often mimic their parents or children who are older than them. They are excitable when they spend time with other kids, but might prefer to play near them rather than with them. They are just beginning to play games with other children such as tag or hide-and-seek. At this age, putting clothing items on and taking them off can be accomplished, but dressing themselves may still require help. Two-year-olds can be stubborn. It is not uncommon for little ones to do exactly what they are told not to at this stage. They are learning how to be more independent and testing their boundaries is part of the fun. Letting your child know what is expected ahead of time and being consistent with discipline will help smooth the bumpy road ahead.


Two-year-olds are able to point to people and objects in pictures and speak their names. They can tell you the names of people they know as well as the parts of their body. They speak two- to four-word sentences, although you may only understand what is said half of the time. They can follow simple instructions, but that doesn't mean they always will. Stubborn moods can strike at any time. Keep in mind that toddlers this age often repeat what they hear so you might want to save sharing your feelings toward the neighbor until your sweet tot is out of earshot.


Cognitive development refers to a child's ability to learn, think and solve problems. At age 2, children are able to find hidden items even if they have to overcome the challenge of hunting it down under a bed or blanket. They can sort shapes and identify colors. Completing sentences and rhymes found in books they are familiar with is an enjoyable past time. She will pick up her shoes and put them away if asked. She might begin to favor using one hand over the other. Your tot will take part in imaginative games often by herself. Toddlers will be able to build impressive towers using at least four building blocks in their second year.


The second year of life is an active one and chances are your 2-year-old has you up and running most of the time. She will stand on tip-toe, throw a ball overhand and kick a ball. She will climb onto furniture and then down off of it just as quickly as she accomplished getting up. She will run and you will run after her much of the time, if not to guard the stairs she wants to climb then to save the lamp she is about to crash into on the way to the stairs. Physical games such as tag and soccer are ideal ways to spend quality time with your toddler while she uses up some of her energy.


If your 2-year-old is unable to push a wheeled toy, walks on tip-toe, does not yet walk, cannot speak two-word sentences or speaks less than 15 words, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends contacting your pediatrician because those symptoms could be signs of potential developmental delay. Other signs of a problem include difficulty following simple instructions, not using two-word phrases, appearing confused about what to do with common objects such as a brush, spoon or phone, does not imitate others, or is unbalanced while walking.

About the Author

Kelly O'Brien Ritchie has been a writer since 1998. She has contributed to the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts, Sarnia Historical Society and community newspapers. Ritchie managed her own business for eight years and studied corporate communications at Centennial College.

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