Developmental Milestones for 2-Year-Olds

December 15, 2021

While every child is unique and tends to develop at a different rate, there are some predictive milestones to watch for that help to determine whether your child is growing and learning on a healthy and age-appropriate timeline. 

When there are delays in meeting such milestones, it can be a sign that your child could use a little extra support and assistance, and the earlier that’s provided, the better. Keep in mind that if a majority of milestones are missed, it could also indicate an underlying condition. That’s why it’s so important to note which milestones your child is hitting, and when.      

If you have a toddler who’s entering the terrific twos, look for these signs to ensure your little one is progressing at a healthy 2-year-old pace.  

Watch for These 2-Year-Old Developmental Milestones

Physical/Movement Milestones

Gross and fine motor skills improve greatly at this age. Most 2-year-olds are on the go, which is why most parents of 2-year-olds are typically exhausted! While you might be so tired you can barely keep your eyes open, do keep an eye out for the development of these motor skill milestones: 

  • Starting to run
  • Kicking and throwing a ball
  • Jumping with both feet off the floor
  • Standing on tiptoes
  • Climbing on furniture and up and down stairs
  • Carrying or pushing toys while walking
  • Riding a tricycle

And in the rare moments when your 2-year-old isn't moving…

  • Holding a crayon and coloring with it, or drawing circles and lines
  • Building a tower of four or more blocks

Language & Learning Milestones

The most common word used by 2-year-olds might be “No,” but this is actually a time when most toddlers start using more words, forming sentences, and repeating phrases. Better watch what you say! And watch for these talking and thinking skills:

  • Using 4 or 5-word sentences 
  • Singing phrases of songs 
  • Reciting favorite books
  • Repeating words 
  • Following simple, 2-step directions
  • Recognizing names of things and their functions
  • Playing make-believe
  • Sorting objects by shape and color 
  • Putting together simple puzzles 
  • Finding things that are hidden

Social/Emotional Milestones

2-year-olds can get a bad rap for bad behavior, but in reality, they are simply at an age when they are becoming independent but don’t quite understand concepts like sharing and don't yet have enough words to express themselves fully. This is why many 2-year-old toddlers become easily frustrated. With that in mind, it’s important to be patient, and also be on the lookout for these behavioral milestones: 

  • Imitating what others do
  • Starting to play and interact with other children
  • Increasingly wanting to do things for themselves 
  • Behaving defiantly

Does Your 2-Year-Old Need Help Hitting Developmental Milestones?

It’s important to remember that no two children develop at the same pace or in the same way, and some may exhibit skills sooner or later than others. However, if you're concerned that your child isn't yet making many of these developmental milestones, contacting your pediatrician and an early intervention specialist can help. 

About Play, one of South Carolina's largest early intervention providers, is here to support your child and your family. We work with you to provide individualized services that, through play and everyday routines, help nurture children with developmental delays and give families the tools they need to face, and conquer, developmental challenges. Give us a call or contact us online for more information today. We are here for you and happy to help!

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