Those Terrific Twos

by | Jun 5, 2019

I’m the proud grandmother of a wonderful toddler with hazel eyes and a smile that can melt your heart. A good friend recently asked me how old he was as she looked at his latest pictures. I smiled and told her he was almost 23 months old.

Her eyes widened as she shook her head saying, “Oh my! He’s about to enter the terrible twos.”

I replied, “No, they’ll just be his terrific twos!”

Why Terrible?

Why do people refer to the second year of life as terrible? I know that some of my favorite times with my three sons were when they were two years old. What a fun and exciting time of silly rhymes and dancing to the same songs over and over again until we were dizzy. The twins had yellow ducks as riding toys, so we sang “ducky” songs as they rode. We all had fun!

During their second year, toddlers are running and climbing and need to be watched very carefully. Parents should be clear and consistent in the expectations they have for their toddler’s behavior while they consistently reinforce good behavior with positive words and responses. 

The child’s vocabulary increases greatly in the second year. They respond to simple directions and may begin speaking in two-and three-word phrases.

My grandson may roll his toy school bus across the floor and say, “Big bus.”

His mom says, “Yes, it is a big, yellow bus!”

Talking together during playtime, while riding in the car, or while taking a walk will develop his literacy skills and his confidence with language.


The Highest For of Flattery

Toddlers love to imitate adults. The last time I was with my grandson I lost my purse. He had it and was carrying it over his little shoulder to the front door while saying, “Bye-bye!” He also loves to help his dad feed their dogs and go outside to throw the ball with them. He has fun playing, singing, and reading books with his family. 

At this age, he is testing boundaries. It’s not terrible, it’s just a very natural progression. By age three he will most certainly try to do more things independently, but his parents know what’s best and will redirect him to make better choices.

Rich Environments

A child’s environment should be rich in written and oral language. Their reading area should be cozy and inviting with colorful books of different sizes, textures, and sounds!

Expose your child to places, people, and activities that are appropriate and consistent with experiences that you choose. Provide activities where your child will be fully engaged in these new experiences.

Interaction about the experiences provides context for them. This creates new connections in the brain. In this way, each new experience grows the brain. 

Think of the second year of your child or grandchild’s life as an adventure filled with new and amazing experiences! Now how could that ever be considered terrible? It should be called the Terrific Twos!

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Tamie Neu

Tamie is the curriculum director for Birth2Work. Bringing nearly 30 years of teaching experience, she saw firsthand that parent leadership is the most vital force in a child’s life. She has three sons and currently resides in West Texas. In her "free time" she loves reading non-fiction and playing with her grandson. Read full bio >>

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