I have often said this in my posts and I will reiterate today, parenting is not an easy game as children do not come with a manual. Each child is different and they grow in different ways. You see a lot of change in them on a daily basis and they reach different milestones at different times. No two children are the same and thus, no rules apply but when the baby turns two years old the doctors advise to stop doing a lot many things related to babies so as to provide some exposure to the kids. This exposure will help the kids have self-development and help them be independent.
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Kids are used to a routine and when suddenly on turning two years old, you stop doing something special for your kid which you have been doing since the time of her/his birth then there might be a lot of chaos. Your little one might react to this and it can have some adverse effect on the mental health of the child. So, the pediatricians usually suggest stopping doing certain things gradually. By the gradual approach, kids will not be aggressive and would try to cope up with changes.
One thing I have done with Little Miss A on her turning two years old that has worked for us is to prepare her for the coming changes. We often talk about what is going to happen and make it sound a lot of fun. This increases her excitement and she does look forward to new things. She still does create a tantrum sometimes but it is usually manageable.
Carrying the baby has a lot of effect on them but now it is time for them to walk around on their own. You should stop carrying the baby very often as walking would help her/him in making her/his legs stronger. If she/he falls down, then encourage her/him to get up and walk again. This is how they learn walking. Usually all kids, by the time they turn 2 years old are already walking and are stable. Encourage them to walk and explore new things on their own.
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Using pacifiers or thumb/finger sucking is a way to self soothe for the babies. It can affect the growth of teeth and the posture of lips but at the same time stopping it can upset them. This is the time to start talking to them and explaining the effects. You should not force the child but repeated reminders can help. You can go cold turkey on pacifiers but if the child sucks fingers or thumbs, it is advisable to talk to them. For most kids whose parents put an effort around the time they turn 2 years old, I have noticed the kids stop this habit by the age of 3 or 4. So give them time.
Once the baby is almost 2 years, by then you should have started inculcating some potty training into him/her. The use of diapers should be reduced now and the baby should be encouraged to use the washroom or the special potty chairs that are available for them. You have to know when the child is ready and do not force them. All that needs to be done is to introduce the concept and talk to them and they will transition when they are comfortable.
Now, your baby is big enough to try to learn things like sleeping on his own. There should be a bed time ritual so that the baby knows it is time to sleep. Just try to dim the lights and make him lie on her/his bed. You can chat with him slowly or tell some stories and allow them to sleep. Walking or rocking them should be avoided at this age.
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Most babies are habituated of having only milk throughout the day without any interest in other food items. By the age of 2, you should have introduced all other food items to her/him in small quantities. Gradually, when the baby turns 2 years old, increase the quantities and encourage her/him to have less milk and other food items regularly.
This habit is difficult for babies to leave immediately. Try putting them to sleep without a milk bottle. This is a cause of infections at a later stage so the child has to be weaned off. Again, this habit will go with time. Your child is now in her/his terrible twos and you might have to accept extreme reactions for the steps you take. We stopped giving bottle to Little Miss A at 15 months and she stopped having milk at night. Your child’s turning 2 years old might test your patience in unusual ways.
Stop making a puree of all food items thoroughly. Encourage your kid in chewing the par-boiled or boiled food items. This habit will have good effects on their health as well. By the age of 2, the child should be eating the same food as the family.
Till the time they turn 2 years old we usually, encourage our kids to play with gadgets like phones, tablets while eating or doing other chores. Slowly, this habit needs to go. Make them have their food without any gadgets and entertainment. Screen time of up to 1-1.5 hours is ok as long as you monitor the content, but giving the screen while eating is a big no.
You should start using a tooth paste and brush for your kid now. Use of cotton swabs to clean the mouth should be stopped gradually. She/he may not like the taste or smell of tooth paste but brushing can be encouraged in small quantities initially. Remember that on turning 2 years old your kid now will eat different food hence needs a different mouth cleaning regime.
Cribs are meant for babies to sleep. Now, since your baby is a toddler you should try and move the baby to sleep on a bed or a good mattress.
Your baby has now turned 2 years old. You should interact or talk with her/him very often. This will help her/him to learn talking which will improve their communication skills and also make them confident to be around others and adjust to new environments.
Allow your baby to learn to self-feed themselves. You can just sit with them and help in holding the spoon and suggesting things, but allow her/him to have the bites themselves.
Now, since your kid has turned 2 years old, sterilization is not a mandate any more. You can at times avoid sterilizing her/his bottles and other utensils. However, this depends on your personal choice.
Now, try to be a little less protective about your child. Give her/him the exposure needed otherwise it will have a toll on her/his personality development. Your child has now turned 2 years old and should be allowed to start discovering the world around him in baby steps. This is easier said than done as parents will always be over protective about their children, but we can definitely give it a try.
Do not swear about anything in front of your child. By this age, she/he understands things and tries to imitate whatever she/he sees around. So, it’s very important to check our own actions in front of them.
She/he is grown up enough to behave in a decent manner. So, do not encourage throwing of tantrums as these will only make them more stubborn. Try to make your kid understand things softly and teach them to behave properly.
On turning 2 years old the child reaches an age where they imitate what goes on around them and learn whatever they see. So, avoid having any arguments in front of them. These can have some negative impact on their minds and personality.
Try to form a routine for your kid during the entire day. She/he should be involved in many other activities which help in their growth rather than long naps. So, one single nap throughout the day or 2 at the most is fine.
Little Miss A will be soon three. Though we followed all the above dos and don’ts on her turning 2 years old, we have not been able to stop diapers and she still sucks her fingers. We are working on it and hopefully will succeed in getting rid of these habits. Though we all love to pamper our little ones and showing that extra care towards them, sometimes we need to provide them with exposure and allow them to be on their own. Initially, this would be difficult but then when it’s for their better we can definitely practice it sooner or later. Letting go is tough for a parent, but it has to be done at some point.
“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings”