Your toddler is 2 years old. Happy birthday!
She’s playing pretend, sorting stuff into categories, and is hip to simple abstract concepts (like “sooner” vs. “later”). She’s also getting more verbal every day, is sometimes whiny, and may be having a little separation anxiety. She likes to do things for herself and, of course, can throw a doozy of a tantrum. The fun part: She’s big on showing other emotions too, like love and joy, and is absolutely smitten with you.
As your child continues to grow, you might find his confidence growing too. This can mean becoming braver about trying new things—and testing his parents' limits.
2-Year-Old Weight & Height
Wondering how much should a 2-year-old weigh? Average weight for a 24-month-old is 26.5 pounds for girls and 27.5 pounds for boys, according to the World Health Organization.
How tall is the average 2-year-old? Average height for a 24-month-old is 33.5 inches for girls and 34.2 inches for boys.
At the 2-year checkup, the pediatrician will weigh and measure her, and make sure her growth is following a healthy upward curve on the growth chart.
Here are some milestones your 24-month-old may have hit or may be working on:
• Motor skills. Your 24-month-old can probably walk up the stairs one foot at a time and jump with both feet at once.
• Speech. He may be saying 50 words or as many as 100. He may even be saying two-word phrases—but it's not usually worrisome if he isn't. The doctor will probably check for hearing problems if he's not talking as much as expected.
• Teething. A toddler's upper second molars tend to poke through around the second birthday, causing some teething discomfort.
• Potty Training. The second birthday is a popular time to start ramping up potty training efforts if your child is showing signs of readiness. This may include telling you she has to go, wanting her dirty or wet diaper changed, showing interest in the potty, the ability to pull her pants up and down, and/or staying dry for at least two hours in a row. Don't rush her if she's not there yet; experts say potty training is likely to go most smoothly when started between 27 and 32 months.
Now that your child is officially 24 months old, here’s advice on how to deal with new toddler behaviors:
• Tantrums. Welcome to the terrible twos. Seventy-five percent of kids have tantrums by the time they hit age 2, so your child is certainly not alone in this tough phase. But it's not always as, well, terrible as it sounds. In fact, you may start to learn what helps stop your child's tantrums. Some kids calm with shushing, others respond to distraction, and still others may just have to let out their frustration.
• Separation Anxiety. It's common for 2-year-olds to have a tough time separating from mom or dad. As hard as it is, gently but firmly show him his tears aren't going to change things. Keep goodbyes short and sweet, and reassure him you'll be back—and be specific with the details. For example, “I’ll be back after your nap.”
• Emotions. A 2-year-old's feelings are big. Don't worry about constantly trying to cheer her up or convincing her not to be angry. But do teach her how to use words to describe her feelings and explain that she's mad or sad. Acknowledgment is an important step toward learning to handle negative emotions.
Don't be surprised if your child's afternoon nap gets a little bit shorter as he gets older. But keep in mind his total sleep per day should remain about the same, so you might consider putting him to bed a little earlier on days with shorter naps.
How Much Sleep Does a 2-Year-Old Need?
Most 24-month-olds 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.
Every kid is different, but your child's schedule may look something like this:
2-Year-Old Sleep Schedule
2-Year-Old Sleep Regression
Tired because your 2-year-old is waking up at night? Regression can happen when a formerly good sleeper suddenly begins waking more, throwing her parents for a loop. A bout of teething or illness could be the cause, or maybe a trip or holiday where her sleep routine changed. To get back to the usual snoozing routine, it's important to know the root of the problem, so you can help your child get through it. Stick with the usual bedtime routine and set limits that will help your child get back on track.
There's one big change to your child's menu this month: Now that she's two years old, you should switch her from whole milk to 1 percent or skim milk. Try to offer low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, as well. Doctors recommend kids ages one to three get 700 mg of calcium per day. Fat should account for less than 30 percent of your toddler's daily calories.
How Much Should My 24-Month-Old Be Eating?
Two-year-olds should continue to eat three meals per day, plus two snacks. Offer her a variety of foods in all food groups—vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy—daily.
A serving of pasta the size of a Ping-Pong ball, protein as big as four marbles, and chopped veggies or fruit around the size of four dominoes are all considered normal portions for a toddler this age.
What to Feed My 24-Month-Old
Variety is still key. Most toddlers should eat about ¾ to 1 cup of fruits and veggies, ¼ cup grains and three tablespoons of protein per day.
Looking for some tasty and nutritious meal inspiration? Check out these food ideas for a 2-year-old:
2-Year-Old Feeding Schedule
2-Year-Old Not Eating/Picky Eater
Try not to worry too much if your child is turning down nutritious foods and choosing only white and brown foods. It's normal for 24-month-olds to be picky eaters—consider it his way of exercising his newfound independence. The best you can do is keep offering nutritious food options, choosing and preparing food together, and modeling healthy eating behaviors for your child. He'll come around to eating other colors…eventually.
Your 2-year-old is probably interested in coloring, building and pretend play. You might find she's spending more time playing independently than she used to.
Things to Do With a 2-Year-Old
Fun activities, games and toys for a 2-year-old include:
• Crayons. Two-year-olds will pretend to write if you give them crayons and paper.
• Building blocks. Duplos and other large Lego-type blocks are excellent toys to help build fine motor skills.
• Imaginative play. Playing with dolls, cars, trains and stuffed animals are all popular activities for 2-year-olds.
• Take your toddler to her 2-year (24-month) checkup.
• Schedule your toddler's 2 ½-year (30-month) checkup.
• Instead of brushing teeth, let your toddler “paint” her teeth (with toothpaste, of course). This makes it way more fun.
•Thinking about baby No. 2? Try reading books together about bringing home a new sibling, like Babies Don’t Eat Pizza by Dianne Danzig. Spend time around babies, so he learns how to touch them gently. And, if he’ll be moving out of his crib or into a new room, make the change at least four weeks before you’re due so he has time to adjust.