Parenting In Focus: Your growing toddler

  • Wednesday, June 23, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Now that your little one is pushing 2 to 3 years, there are more things for you to do to enrich his life. Your involvement in his progress is critical for him to make the most of these early years.

You are probably noticing his developing hand coordination. You may realize now how he hold crayons and pencils and even the way he plays with toys. Do you think he will be right-handed or left-handed? It is not so you can influence which hand is his predominate hand, but just so you can be with him on his development.

You have also probably noticed that he is doing more things by himself than just a short time ago. He is likely to try to dress himself for better or worse. All these are behaviors to praise him for and to encourage him to do more.

Another area of development you are likely to notice is that he enjoys playing with other children. You will see his social skills developing and these are important for him.

This area of his personality is one that has really been set back for all ages during the pandemic. Children could not play with other children and this has set them back in developing these social skills. Give him a chance to play with other children and learn how to do it.

Even playing with you helps him develop social skills.

Get vocal, mobile

While it is important to develop language skills by talking, another way is to encourage singing. Sing nursery rhymes and other songs with your child. Do body movement to really get into the singing. He will enjoy the movement and it is good for him. This may even encourage other musical skills to come out.

Certainly still encourage his vocabulary and knowledge and learning more about the world by taking walks, visiting museums, libraries, restaurants, parks and zoos. Everywhere you go there is much to be learned. Talk about the places you are going to go to but then talk about them when you have been there.

Work with him on projects. I do not mean you should take over the project. Simply work beside him to encourage him and enjoy what is happening together. This can be art projects, fixing toys, or cooking food.

Use counting more than ever and bring in printing letters. You will see some scribbling that in a short while might just become letters or numbers.

Notice his continued ability to walk, run, jump, hop, role and climb. He is growing up and learning more and more skills. You will notice this same progress in his vocabulary.

Another thing you might notice is that as he has recently been growing a lot, he also is often stubborn and may even have some evidence of temper tantrums. Hang in there. Do not overreact. Talk with him. Listen to him. Work with him on being patient.

This is an exciting time with your young child. Enjoy your time together.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. For more information, email to or call 360-681-2250.

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