Parenting In Focus: Being ready for the twos

Between ages 2 and 3, your child is beginning to realize that he is a person independent from you. He will want to exercise his free will, largely opposing much of what you want or expect from him. His protests will probably also include temper tantrums and the heavy use of the word “no.”

So what can a parent or a caregiver do? Begin by trying different solutions and see what response you get.

Taming tantrum tips

• Try to keep your cool. He will lose control even more if you really lose your temper. Remain calm. Your remaining calm teaches your child how to remain calm.

• Rather than using physical punishment, create consequences that relate to his behavior. For example, remove him from the store if he misbehaves. If he takes a snack without your permission, make him skip the next snack time.

• Stay in control by not giving in to unreasonable demands. Giving in teaches him to try this technique again. If he finds it successful once it is worth him trying again.

• Discuss the issue. When your child is calm, validate his feelings while letting him know that his behavior is not acceptable. Talking about the problem teaches him another way to solve problems.

• Avoid problem-causing situations. If you know your child throws a fit when he is hungry, remember to take snacks with you wherever you go. Plan to have problem causing situations take place after a meal instead of before.


From ages of about 24-36 months, children often become picky eaters and lose interest in food. You may find that some days your child is not interested in food at all, while other days he might only want to eat a certain type of food like fruit. Rest assured that when he is hungry, he will eat. It is your job to make sure you are providing healthy options offering a variety of healthy foods.

By this age your child should become active during reading time. Ask questions about what you are reading to him. By now he can tell you why and what thing are happening when you read him a story? He can even remember some rhymes and songs.

Colors like yellow, blue, red, green, black and white he probably knows and maybe a few more like orange, purple and brown. He probably even knows the first letter of his name. He may even know how to count to five.

All of this learning is helping him be ready for school. Talk with him about what this means for his future and his continuing fun of learning new things.

Two is an exciting age for your child and for you. Don’t be put off by the tough parts. After you weather these, things do get a bit easier.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which published newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents.