2 years 11 months
As your baby starts to slowly make friends with, and to become closer to, the other toddlers in her life, it won’t just affect the way they play together during a playdate. your baby will also start to care about her friends’ feelings. It might not seem like it when they’re fighting over a toy or having trouble taking turns, but toddlers become more empathetic every day.
They’re not great at reading what other people’s feelings might be yet - which is why parents and caregivers are still often called in to do some emotional interpreting - but they’re starting to get the hang of the obvious ones. This means that if your toddler sees a friend of hers crying, there’s a good chance she’ll try to comfort them, and an even better chance that she’ll get upset or agitated for her friend, even if she doesn’t know what to do about it yet.
She probably is also learning to share and take turns, but this can take longer than many parents are expecting, and often doesn’t really start to click until toddlers start to really make friends in earnest. After all, a lot of the playground sharing that happens isn’t because the tots doing the sharing want to be nice - it’s just as likely, or even more likely, to happen because toddlers who share have realized it’s more fun to play with shared toys with friends than it is to play with their own toys all on their own.
And speaking of toys, your baby is reaching the age when open-ended, creative gifts like art supplies can be a big hit, and she’s also reaching the point when, for the first time, more structured games are on the menu. your baby is reaching the age where she can sit still, wait her turn, and remember and follow rules, which are all skills that most structured games need. More than that, she’s also reaching the time when playing with other children - something often paired with playing more structured games - makes the inconvenience of having to take turns and follow rules worth it.
Stops napping regularly: Different children have different sleep needs, but most toddlers drop their nap between the ages of three and four. This means that for some toddlers, as they approach age three, an afternoon nap could start to become unnecessary most of the time. If you’re stuck in the middle period, where some days your little one really could use a nap, but on others, she can do without it, making the time that used to be naptime into a regularly scheduled “quiet time” can help to bridge the gap - and maybe convince a reluctant napper to lie down and take a few deep breaths, even if she can’t sleep, or just “can’t sleep.”
Can draw a circle: You may need to draw a circle for her so that she has something to copy, but that’s just because it might not even occur to her to draw a circle unless you give her the idea to. She may get a lot of use out of circle-drawing in a year or two - when it comes to writing - but there’s no way for her to know that now.
- Rebecca Parlakian and Claire Lerner. “From Baby to Big Kid: Month 34.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, May 16 2016. Retrieved September 6 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1275-from-baby-to-big-kid-month-34.
- Rebecca Parlakian and Claire Lerner. “From Baby to Big Kid: Month 33.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, May 16 2016. Retrieved September 6 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1274-from-baby-to-big-kid-month-33.
- “30-36 Months: Your Child’s Development.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, February 10 2016. Retrieved September 6 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/108-30-36-months-your-child-s-development.
- “Activities for Bonding and Learning from 24 to 36 Months.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, April 18 2016. Retrieved September 7 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1079-activities-for-bonding-and-learning-from-24-to-36-months.
- “Developmental Milestones: 2 Years Old.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, June 1 2009. Retrieved August 14 2017. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Developmental-Milestones-2-Year-Olds.aspx.
- “Developmental Milestones: 3 to 4 Year Olds.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Retrieved August 14 2017. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/preschool/Pages/Developmental-Milestones-3-to-4-Year-Olds.aspx.
- “Developmental Skills for Ages 2 to 3 Years.” Fairview Health Services. University of Minnesota, Amplatz Children’s Hospital. Retrieved September 7 2017. https://www.fairview.org/fv/groups/internet/documents/web_content/developmen_201009262104505.pdf.
- “Feeding: What to Expect From 24 to 36 Months.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, February 16 2009. Retrieved September 6 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/154-feeding-what-to-expect-from-24-to-36-months.
- “Learning and Development: Young Children 24 to 36 Months.” Better Brains for Babies. University of Georgia. Retrieved September 7 2017. http://bbbgeorgia.org/childDev_24-36.php.
- “Play Activities for 24 to 36 Months.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, February 17 2010. Retrieved September 7 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/169-play-activities-for-24-to-36-months.
- “Physical Activity for Your Child: Age 2 Years.” Lancaster General Health. Penn Medicine. Retrieved September 7 2017. http://www.lancastergeneralhealth.org/LGH/ECommerceSite/media/LGH-Media-Library/Documents/Services/Service%20Lines/Healthy%20Weight%20Management/Fact%20Sheets/Physical-Activity-Age-2.pdf.
- “Stages of Play from 24-36 Months: The World of Imagination.” Zero to Three. Zero to Three, February 26 2015. Retrieved September 6 2017. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/315-stages-of-play-from-24-36-months-the-world-of-imagination.
- “Your Child at Three Years.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved September 7 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/checklists/checklists_3yr.pdf.
More articles at this age
Art supplies and your almost-three-year-old
your baby's creativity is growing even faster than the rest of her, and giving her the chance to exercise it can be fun and educational for you both!
Five ways to help young children bond with a new baby
Adding a new sibling to the family is always exciting, but there are a few ways parents can help to ease the transition.
Six things to work into your bedtime routine
Putting a toddler to bed can be as complicated as learning to waltz, or as straightforward as tucking an already dozy sleeper in and tiptoeing out, but whether bedtime is a cakewalk or a little more complicated, there are a few steps that can help the journey run more smoothly.
Talking to your verbal toddler about safety
When your baby starts talking back when you talk to her, your keeping-her-safe plan will have to evolve with PRONOUN_HM_HER_LOWER.
7 ways to encourage kids to help clean up
Although at this point, it may be faster and easier to clean up messes yourself, investing the time to clean up alongside your child will pay off with a child who, with any luck, won't think twice about picking up after herself on her own as she grows.
Is my toddler mature enough to take care of a pet?
As she grows, your baby is getting more and more able to take care of herself, but she's also becoming more and more able to take care of some of the other members of your family.