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Your Independent Child: TODDLER FUN at their 2nd year
As your toddler becomes increasingly skilled and dextrous, he/she will be able to master things such as building a tower of bricks or finding the right hole for her shapes. These little triumphs are sources of wonder to your child and an important part of developing their confidence and independence.
On The Move
Now that your child is becoming more physically able and agile, they may enjoy a greater range of ride- on toys. Little tricycles with no pedals, which they push along with their feet, are ideal as few toddlers can pedal at this age. If they are able to pedal, they will enjoy a traditional tricycle, and a few children may be able to manage a toddler- sized bike with stabilisers by the time they reach their second birthday.
Toddler- powered cars that have a door and a roof are hugely popular with this age group. If you go to a toddler group, you will often find that these toys cause the most arguments among the children. They can be used indoors or outdoors and are great for pretend play, too, especially as many have a parcel shelf that is big enough to accommodate a teddy or doll. It is worth going to a local group that has plenty of play space as it will give your child the opportunity to try out these large- scale toys and for you to see whether she enjoys them.
Some toddlers may enjoy new kinds of creative play, such as collage, towards the end of their 2nd year. You will need to help them put the glue on to the paper at first, then provide a selection of pictures, bits of fabric, and glitter to stick on, and see what they make of it. If they like playing with stickers, you can try using star charts to encourage desirable behaviour.
For example, if you are trying to get your toddler to allow you to brush their teeth, put up a chart in a conspicuous place and let her choose a sticker to put on it every time they let you. As they are still very young, give them the sticker whether they make a fuss or not – as long as you have managed to brush their teeth. This old- fashioned method of rewarding children really does work, even when they are very young.
As long as they watch programmes with you (and switch off when they have finished ), television can be a good learning experience. Programmes that are made for this age group will give them plenty to think about and talk about and can help them learn. If your toddler enjoys books, they may be able to follow a simple story by this stage and you may see them pretend to read to their toys, just the way you read to them. Toddlers do vary in how much quiet play they can cope with but yours may find activities such as puzzles, books, and building blocks absorbing for an increasing length of time, especially if they have your full attention.
Many children won’t fully grasp sharing until after the age of two, but there is no harm in gently teaching them. Encourage them by playing different games with them where turn- taking is important, such as rolling, throwing, or kicking a ball to each other. Practising these desirable social skills now will help to smooth the way for them when they begin to play more independently with other children.
Learning through play is a delightful way to get your child started off on the journey of gaining knowledge and exploring the world around him. Not only does he/she get to learn something new, your little one gets to have plenty of fun with it as well!