Your 2-year-old daughter can be a dancing around the living room one moment and crying in your arms the next. She is eager to learn so many things that she's frustrated when she can't keep up with her older siblings or with you. You're probably wondering what the most important things are that you should teach her, and luckily, they are easy to incorporate into her daily routine.
Now that your little girl is 2, she can finally tell you exactly what she wants and needs, and she's learning new words and expressions every day. You can help her along in this area by asking her lots of open-ended questions, like, "What happened?" Encourage her to retell familiar stories as well as make up stories of her own. As your daughter grows more interested in pretend play, join in with her to introduce new vocabulary into the game. You can note the color, shape and size of her toy pizza or name the body parts of her stuffed dog. When she makes mistakes, such as saying "Daddy goed to the store," respond with "Yes, Daddy went to the store," rather than pointing out her mistake directly.
Foundations of Literacy
Learning how to read begins long before your child walks into her first day of school. Your 2 year old is learning how to turn the pages in order and what a book represents when you read to her. Make books a part of her daily routine. Talk about the books you read and ask her questions. Sing the ABC song together and make silly rhymes with her. Rhyming songs prepare your little one to successfully hear the sounds in a word when she begins to read.
Your 2 year old is ready to learn all kinds of math basics, but start with teaching her to count. Sing songs that feature numbers and make a point of counting things that are important to her -- her favorite toys, her stash of lollipops, her toes. Begin pointing out the patterns in her world, such as repeating stripes on her pajamas or wallpaper. Ask her which bowl of ice cream has more, or which stuffed bear is bigger. These basic activities will set her up for mathematical success down the road.
Your 2 year old is eager to refine her control over her body so she can skip, hop or draw when the urge strikes her. She is so highly motivated to learn these things, in fact, that the only thing you need to do is provide a wide range of materials that she can use to build her skills. Puzzles, large beads, crayons and blocks help her develop her fine motor skills. For gross motor skills, make sure she has daily outdoor play time where she has access to balls, a tricycle, push toys, a safe place to climb and a chance to practice walking and running on different types of surfaces, such as sand, grass or soil.
Healthy Body Image
You probably know that you can set your daughter up for a lifetime of sensible eating habits by offering her healthy foods now and letting her see you eating them. Similarly, it is not too early to begin thinking about how to promote a healthy body image for your daughter. Avoid making disparaging remarks about body shape and size, whether your own or others. Rather than always telling her how cute she is, make a point of commenting on other qualities that your toddler possesses, too. If you are struggling to feel comfortable with your own body image, get help to improve the situation so you can model acceptance and confidence for your little girl in the toddler years and beyond.