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2 Year Check Up

DIET/NUTRITION:   Your child should still be drinking 16-24 oz of milk each day or 2-3 servings of other dairy products.  After age 2 children can drink lowfat milk (2% or 1% or skim), because they no longer need the extra fat provided by whole milk.  From now on your child’s diet ideally should have the same amount of total fat as an adult diet (< 30%).  Because toddlers are often picky eaters, mealtime can be a struggle if your child does not want to eat what is served.  Continue to offer your child foods from different food groups every day, including fruits and vegetables.  Don’t be alarmed if your child refuses a certain food more than once.  Many children will eventually try something that they have refused as many as 10 times in the past!  Limiting your child’s juice intake to no more than 1 cup a day (with the rest being water or milk) can improve the appetite and prevent cavities.  If your child refuses to eat at mealtime, you may have to allow him to get down and leave his plate for later.  Let him know that when he gets hungry he may try again to eat his meal, but try to avoid giving him sweets or snacks if he fusses again later.  If your child is growing well and eating food from different food groups his diet is probably adequate.  

DEVELOPMENT   Most two year olds can walk up and down stairs without help, make 5-7 block towers, jump up with 2 feet, and take off their own shoes and pants.  Usually they can say around 50 words and make 2 word sentences.  Usually they are starting to understand and use pronouns (I, you, me), and they can follow 2-step commands (such as “go to your room and get your shoes”).  Reading to your child remains very important in order to promote your child’s own language and reading skills in the future.

TEMPER TANTRUMS:   Most children at this age at least occasionally have temper tantrums, which are usually a sign of frustration or a cry for attention.  Try whenever possible to ignore bad behavior and praise good behavior and step in quickly if your child is starting to get upset or frustrated.  If your child has a tantrum in your house, try to leave the room and return only when he or she is quiet.  If this happens out in public, often picking your child up and leaving together when possible is the best remedy.  Try when possible to give your child power by allowing him to choose between two acceptable options.  Whenever possible tell your child what to do instead of what not to do.  (For example, if your child is reaching for things on the shelf in the grocery store, you could tell her to put her hands in her pockets instead of telling her to stop reaching.)  Try to avoid running errands when you or your child is tired or irritable and your patience is already low.  Make rules very simple so your child learns what is expected and make punishments consistent.  Time-outs can begin to be an effective tool for most children by 24 months when used consistently, with the general rule being one minute of time-out for each year of age.  Remember that this behavior will get better!

POTTY TRAINING:  Sometime after 2 years of age most children will show some interest in potty training.  Whenever your child wants to sit on the potty, act very excited and give her lots of encouragement and praise even if there are no “results!”  It takes most kids some time before they feel very comfortable sitting on a toilet and until they understand what is supposed to happen when they sit there.  Children must have words for everything associated with potty training before they can communicate their readiness and interest to their parents.  There is also a normal progression of first knowing what it feels like after they wet or dirty their diapers, then learning what is feels like during this process, to finally knowing before they go.  While they may begin potty training at anytime, the process cannot be completed until all those steps are achieved.  Consider using a sticker or star chart to get your child excited and to show her progress.   Be positive and patient during this process and remember there is great variety in the ages that different children will become potty trained.

SAFETY:  Continue to make sure that your child always rides is a carseat in the backseat of the car.  Make sure the smoke detectors in your home work properly, and form a fire escape plan in your home.  Use sunscreen and insect repellent in the summer as needed to prevent sunburn and insect bites.  Never let a child out of your sight near any type of water.  Continue to be careful with foods that are choking risks, including hard candy, nuts, raw carrots, large pieces of meat.  Keep medications out of reach and locked away to prevent accidental ingestions, and keep the number for Poison Control near your phone:  1-800-222-1222