Eating meals together as a family has many benefits. Mealtime is a great time to let your child tell you about her interests, concerns, and worries. Encourage your child to talk and to listen to others as they share stories and experiences. This helps your child to learn new words and keeps your family feeling close and connected. Don’t have the TV on during family meals.
You can model healthy eating by what you eat and how much you eat. Give your child chances to choose what foods to eat. Be sure to give him only healthy foods to choose from. Lower fat content in milk and other dairy products is often a good idea. Ask your healthcare provider if 2% or skim milk is a good choice for your child.
Let your child feed himself. Your child will get better at using the spoon, with fewer and fewer spills. Make sure that your child’s food is not too hot.
It is very important for your child to be completely off a bottle. Ask your healthcare provider for help if your child is still using one.
Two-and-a-half year olds have lots of energy and curiosity but often do not know the right way to behave. You need lots of energy, patience, and a sense of humor while you teach your child. It also helps to get support from other parents.
Spend time teaching your child how to play. Encourage imaginative play and sharing of toys, but don't be surprised that children this age usually do not want to share toys with anyone else.
Mild stuttering is common at this age. It usually goes away on its own by the age of 4 years. Do not hurry your child's speech. Ask your healthcare provider about your child's speech if you have concerns.
Set rules about media use. Know what kinds of apps and games your child uses, and what they are doing online. Limit how much time your child spends using computers, tablets, TV, videos, and other electronics. Don’t let your child watch shows with violence or sex. Play video games, read, or watch TV with your child and communicate with your child while you do. Children need physical play and face-to-face conversation to stay healthy and learn language and social skills. Having a TV, computer, or video game in your child's bedroom increases your child's risk for obesity, sleep disorders, and attention problems. Your child needs time to unplug and recharge. Participate in active play with your child, and be a role model by limiting your own use of technology.
Some children at this age show signs that they are ready for toilet training. When your child tells you that he has wet or soiled diapers, it’s a sign that your child prefers to be dry. Praise your child for telling you. Young children are naturally curious about other people using the bathroom. If your child seems curious, let him go to the bathroom with you. Buy a potty chair and leave it in a room in which your child usually plays. It is important not to put too many demands on your child or shame your child about toilet training. When your child does use the toilet, let him know how proud you are.
Testing the rules and limits is common. Be consistent with rules that are not too strict and not too lenient. Be gentle but firm with your child. Many parents find this age difficult, so ask your healthcare provider for advice on managing behavior.
Here are some good ways to help your child learn about rules:
Don’t send your child to their room for time-outs. A bedroom should not feel like a place of punishment.
Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have questions about discipline or need help with behavior problems.
It’s important to take care of your child’s baby teeth because they help your child chew food and speak clearly. They also help save space for the permanent teeth that will come in later. You can help care for your child’s teeth by following these tips:
Child-Proofing Your Home
Fires and Burns
Immunizations protect your child against several serious, life-threatening diseases. Your child should get a flu shot every year. Your child’s healthcare provider will let you know if your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations. Be sure to bring your child's shot record to all visits with your provider.
A checkup at 3 years is recommended.