Your toddler is 26 months old!
By 26 months, most kids have a vocabulary of 50 words or more, and can combine two words into a simple sentence, like “Mommy eat” or “More cracker.” Keep on chatting and your kid will keep learning. If he isn’t saying anything yet or if strangers can’t understand anything he says, it’s a good idea to check in with his pediatrician just to make sure everything’s okay. Remember: Developmental delays caught early can be more easily overcome.
Two-year-olds all grow and develop at different rates, but as long as yours is on the upswing with the growth charts and with learning new words and skills, there's probably nothing to be concerned about.
26-Month-Old Weight & Height
Average weight for a 26-month-old is around 27.4 pounds for girls and 28.7 pounds for boys. Average height is around 34.3 inches for girls and 34.8 inches for boys, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What should my 26-month-old old be doing? Here are some milestones your 26-month-old may have hit or may be working on:
• Speech. As we mentioned above, your little chatterbox may be using two-word sentences and probably has a hugely increasing vocabulary. She follows simple instructions and can copy actions and words. Doesn't sound familiar? At 26 months old, speech development can vary widely from child to child. But a 26-month-old not talking should definitely be evaluated, as a hearing problem could be causing the speech delay, or the child might need a little extra help from speech therapy.
• Potty training. If your child is starting to use the potty, it probably feels like a huge victory. (Congrats!) But know that potty training setbacks can happen. If your child is having a lot of accidents, it simply means the potty training process isn't over yet. Potty training a 26-month-old doesn't happen overnight. Remember that every time your child has an accident, he's learning from it. Keep the process positive by praising successes and helping clean up (without making a big deal about it) when he doesn't make it to the bathroom.
• Teething. Your child may be cutting her second molars. Also known as the 2-year molars, these pearly whites tend to erupt between 20 and 33 months. And since they're big, it can be a painful process. The good news is they're the last teeth to come in until around age 6, when kids can better deal with the discomfort, so soon, you'll be done with teething woes.
• Asking Questions. About everything. Your kid now has the communication skills to ask, so you should be thrilled! But it's normal to feel a little exhausted of trying to come up with as many answers as questions he asks.
• Concentration. Your child probably concentrates so much on playing that he may not even want to take a break for meals. Give warnings beforehand that it will be time to take a break soon to ease the transition between activities.
• Biting. It's common for 26-month-olds to bite or hit or otherwise hurt others. Some kids learn it at daycare or all on their own. When your kid bites or hits, clearly let her know this is not acceptable behavior. Comforting the hurt child—not the biter or hitter—shows the biter that this bad behavior doesn't give her the attention she might crave.
• Play. Your child can probably find a hidden object, sorts items (by size or color), and likes to use his imagination.
Health is always a top concern for parents, and this age is no different. Some common health questions parents of 26-month-olds have are:
• My 26-month-old has diarrhea. What should I do? • My 26-month-old is constipated. What should I do? • My 26-month-old is throwing up. What should I do? • My 26-month old has a cough. What should I do? • My 26-month-old has a fever. What should I do?
Two-year-olds seem to get more sleep than adults do, but they also tend to wake up more often. So it's important to teach kids how to fall back to sleep on their own—without help —after they've woken. This means always putting your child to bed while tired, but not asleep. Letting them fall asleep on their own helps them to learn to do just that when they wake up at 2 a.m.
How Much Sleep Does a 26-Month-Old Need?
Most 2-year-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:
26-Month-Old Sleep Schedule:
26-Month-Old Sleep Problems
If you've moved your 26-month-old from a crib to a bed, you may find the adjustment challenging. After all, he can get up most any time of night—and many kids do at first. Keep praising your child when he sleeps in his bed for long stretches. And keep leading him back to bed when he wakes at night.
Even if your child wants stick to a firm menu of three to four favorite foods, continue to offer her new flavors and textures. Don't sweat it if she doesn't warm to the idea right away, but keep trying to get her used to at least tasting new things on her plate.
How Much Should My 26-Month-Old Be Eating?
Two-year-olds should continue to eat three meals per day, plus two snacks. Offer him a variety of foods in all food groups—vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy—daily. Portion size isn't big at this age: Expect your kid to eat only ¼ to ½ as much as an adult.
Now that your child is 2 years old, she should be drinking 1% or skim milk, not whole milk. Try to offer low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese too. 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.
What to Feed My 26-Month-Old
Looking for some tasty and nutritious meal inspiration? Check out these food ideas for a 2-year-old:
26-Month-Old Feeding Schedule
26-Month-Old Eating Problems
Picky eating is common among 26-month-olds so you might find yourself wondering whether your child should be taking vitamins. Talk to your child's pediatrician to be sure. Some recommend iron supplements, since tots tend not to get enough of the nutrient. Fiber may also be a concern, to counteract constipation, but getting enough fruit and veggies might be all he needs to get his digestive system working properly.
Your 26-month-old is exploring the world through play. Keep up the fun by doing activities together but also encouraging her to stretch his imagination while playing on her own.
What to do with a 26-month-old
Fun activities, games and toys for a 26-month-old are:
• Coloring. Your 26-month-old probably loves scribbling back-and-forth. He’ll do best with big, bulky crayons he can grasp in his fists; he’s not likely to hold one correctly until closer to 4 years old.
• Hide and seek. Now your child can find hidden objects, so have fun hiding a favorite teddy bear or action figure and then looking for it together.
• Easy art projects. Use a simple cardboard box. Together, you can decorate it, and then, with a little imagination, the box can become a house, spaceship or wagon!
• Books. As you're reading, you don't have to stick with the words on the page. You can ask you child what color the bear is or what they think will happen next. This makes for fun conversations that get your 26-month-old critically thinking.
• Why is the sky blue anyhow? Your kid's probably asking a lot of questions. Answer simply and briefly. And know it's okay to say you don't know and suggest you find book on the topic at the library later. You'll both learn a thing or two.
• Experts say kids can only stay still for approximately three to five minutes per year of age, so you've got a whopping 6 to 10 minutes of stillness in your 2-year old. Curb your expectations. If you're going to a restaurant, a play or some other event, bring lots of snacks and activities but also don't be surprised if you have to leave really (really) early.
• Upset? It's okay to show emotion in front of your toddler, especially if you're explaining your feelings to him. It's good for him to understand that it’s normal to have a wide range of emotions.