What Are The Milestones For A 2 Year Old

Milestone Moments Matter2 Years

Have you ever wondered what your child is supposed to do by age two? I have to admit, being a new mom, I didn’t know what to look for or expect. I was happy to make it through the day with no incidents, the baby was fed, cleaned, and resting peacefully. Wondering if she was supposed to say so many words by age two, never crossed my mind. That was 23 years ago. My baby is now 25.

In 2020, we took in my little grand-nephew Jaxon, who was about 16 months at the time. Again, I didn’t know what milestones he should be hitting. It was at an appointment for Jaxon, that I saw a little book lying on the table. I picked it up and started reading the page for three-year-olds. ‘Uh oh. Houston we have a problem.’

This little booklet describes various milestones for kids from ages two months to five years old. It’s called ‘Milestone Moments: Learn The Early Signs. Act Early,” by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC).

I wish I would have seen this book much earlier. Maybe Jaxon would be further along. Jaxon is developmentally delayed and autistic and this little book has been insightful. Had I known about this little resource, maybe I would have caught Jaxon’s autism and delays much sooner. I share this with you because there may be others who are unaware of what the CDC defines as milestones for children. These milestones are things to watch for in your child and tips on how you can help your child learn and grow.

“Your Child By 2 Years – What most children do by this age”

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Copies others, especially adults and older children
  • Gets excited when with other children
  • Shows more and more independence
  • Shows defiant behavior (doing what he has been told not to)
  • Plays mainly beside other children, but is beginning to include other children, such as in chase games

Language/Communication Milestones

  • Points to things or pictures when they are named
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Says sentences with two to four words
  • Follows simple instructions
  • Repeats words overheard in conversation
  • Points to things in a book

How you can help your child’s development

  1. Encourage your child to help with simple chores at home like sweeping and making dinner. Praise your child for being a good helper.
  2. At this age, children still play next to (not with) each other and don’t share well. For playdates, give the children lots of toys to play with. Watch the children closely and step in if they fight or argue.
  3. Give your child attention and praise when he follows instructions. Limit attention to defiant behavior. Spend a lot more time praising good behaviors than punishing bad ones.
  4. Teach your child to identify and say body parts, animals, and other common things.
  5. Do not correct your child when he says words incorrectly. Rather, say it correctly. For example, “That is a ball.”
  6. Encourage your child to say a word instead of pointing. If your child can’t say the whole word (“milk”), give her the first sound (“m”) to help. Over time, you can prompt your child to say the whole sentence – “I want milk.”

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Finds things even when hidden under two or three covers
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  • Completes sentences and rhymes in familiar books
  • Plays simple make-believe games
  • Builds towers of 4 or more blocks
  • Might use one hand more than the other
  • Follows two-step instructions such as “Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”
  • Names items in a picture book such as a cat, bird, or dog.

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

  • Stands on tiptoe
  • Kicks a ball
  • Begins to run
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Makes or copies straight lines and circles

How can you help your child’s development?

  • Hide your child’s toys around the room and let him find them.
  • Help your child do puzzles with shapes, colors, or farm animals. Name each piece when your child puts it in place.
  • Encourage your child to play with blocks. Take turns building towers and knocking them down.
  • Do art projects with your child using crayons, paint, and paper. Describe what your child makes and hang it on a wall or refrigerator.
  • Ask your child to help you open doors and drawers and turn pages in a book or magazine.
  • Once your child walks well, ask her to carry small things for you.
  • Kick a ball back and forth with your child. When your child is good at that, encourage him to run and kick.
  • Take your child to the park to run and climb on equipment or walk nature trails. Watch your child closely.

Act early if your child:

  • Is missing milestones
  • Doesn’t know what to do with common things, like a brush, phone, fork, spoon
  • Doesn’t copy actions and words
  • Doesn’t follow simple instructions
  • Doesn’t use two-word phrases (for example, “drink milk”)
  • Doesn’t walk steadily
  • Loses skills she once had

Don’t wait. You know your child best.

Tell your doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay and ask for a developmental screening.

If you or the doctor is still concerned,

Ask for a referral to a specialist and,

Call your state or territory’s early intervention program to find out if your child can get services to help. Learn more and find the number at cdc.gov/FindEI.

For more information, go to cdc.gov/Concerned.

Talk with your child’s doctor at every visit about the milestones your child has reached and what to expect next.

The above information was taken from the booklet titled Milestone Moments – Learn the Signs. Act Early.

DISCLAIMER: The CDC recently lowered some of the standards for the milestones in 2022. For those updates, it is best to visit their website. The information contained herein comes from this little booklet which was published in 1991,1993, 1998, 2004, and 2009 by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Bright Futures. This booklet was obtained from a doctor’s office in the fall of 2021. We recognize every child is different and what you do with the information is your decision. We are not making suggestions, simply sharing what we found.

Proverbs 1:5, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,”


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