The month of your baby’s birthday has arrived..!
24 months old – time really flies by and this year your toddler has grown so much that you feel like he deserves a big birthday party. However, the best way to celebrate is with a simple and small party. Even though he can understand now what his birthday means, he can get overwhelmed by too many guest and a noisy room full of people. Also, keep it short, invite a couple of children over that he his familiar with, for two hours so they can play, but do not skip his afternoon nap. If you let the party go until late he will be agitated and not sleep right.
Just do not plan some over-the-top party that he cannot appreciate yet, you will have plenty of those when he grows up. The things you can celebrate just in your family are all the milestones that he reached this year. He has been really busy growing, not only in size but also by gaining physical, cognitive and social skills.
Physical development at 24 months old
Your child should be able to run, avoid obstacles, stand quickly, walk on his tiptoes, pull objects behind himself, carry an object while walking, kick a ball, climb on top of chairs and sofas, empty small containers and build a tower of at least four blocks. As his coordination improves, he will be more confident to explore his physical abilities. He will start to climb out of his cot and this can be dangerous. If you do not want him to transition to a bed yet, place pillows bellow the edge so he does not hurt himself. When he transitions into a bed just make sure you get a bed guard so he does not roll over and fall while sleeping.
He might also be ready for another big transition, potty training. This can happen between eighteen months and three years of age, so you might be able to try it by now. If he shows interest when you go to the bathroom, tells you when he wants to pee, or starts to feel uncomfortable in his diapers, it is time to introduce him to the potty. Just don’t try to force him, explain how it works and suggest him to use it if he tells you he needs to pee. Try to tell him to sit on the potty once or twice a day even with his diaper on, so that he can start to feel comfortable with it. He will need time to get used to the potty before starting to use it.
A good way to encourage his physical development is buying a tricycle since he now has enough coordination to pedal it and will enjoy this outdoors activity. He can even play pretend and you can use this to help him gain some new skills. Try playing Simon Says and tell him to jump or stand on one foot. This will help him to develop better coordination skills. His fine motor skills are better by now and he should be able to pick up small objects, turns the pages in a book or even unscrew the lids from jars.
At 24 months old your toddler has some cognitive milestones that should be reached by now, such as identifying objects, body parts and familiar names, use short sentences, follow instructions, repeat some words, find hidden things and sort objects. Order is very important for your toddler at 24 months old. You will notice that he takes some time organizing his toys. He will be satisfied with himself after he sorts everything in a specific order.
He now understands the concept of categories, and this is why he will try to put things in groups. However, he cannot understand abstract concepts like pretty or heavy yet, and will not be able to classify objects like this. Nevertheless, he can associate real life things with pictures of them and might even be able to name them. This is why it is important for you to take some time reading books with pictures and ask questions to him through the story, so his vocabulary can grow faster.
Objects that he sees regularly, animals and familiar names will be his known words by now. He also understands space concepts by now like directions. You can even teach him some basic colors and how to count to ten. He now is developing his sense of self and will be able to talk in the first person. You will notice that sometimes he will be eager to maintain a conversation with you and will be happy to talk about himself. His vocabulary will be growing fast to; he will learn one or two new words every day.
At 24 months old his sentences will still be limited to three or four words and he might get the pronouns wrong, for example choosing “me” instead of “I”. You should not be worried if he is not clear and you cannot understand what he says all the time, it is a normal part of the language development. The typical vocabulary for a two-year old his of fifty words that can be hard to understand at first but he will be perfecting them with time. By now, he will be able to follow simple two-step instructions even if he cannot express them himself.
It his normal for him to ask the same thing a lot of times since is vocabulary is still limited. He might only know one word to express his curiosity, why. It is important for you to try to understand what he is trying to ask. You can do this by asking him another question back so you can narrow down what he is trying to say.
Having friends over for his birthday party is now possible since he can now share his space. Playing with other children is a major social development milestone for your child and you should encourage it. The sharing of his toys will be more difficult. He is still reluctant to cooperate during play time and it is likely that he prefers to play alone. You should not worry about this, it is perfectly normal and he will get there with time. Playing with a friend will most likely be playing side by side rather than playing together. You should teach him that everyone is different and that those differences should be celebrated so he develops tolerance, self-esteem and empathy.
It is important for you to celebrate each milestone with him. Acknowledge his achievements and compliment him, your encouragement is the best way for him to keep evolving.