Independent 2 year olds

A lot of parents wonder what exactly should my child be doing at 2 and are they on target compared to their peers? First of all, I think it is important stop comparing everything! Who cares what that youtube family is doing currently, or what the neighbors kids can do ALREADY!

Instead,  measure their skills against new lessons.  Give them some coaching and let them practice over time. Look back and see how they quickly accomplished a new task! Every child learns things at their own pace. My oldest child had an extensive vocabulary and was very articulate at an extremely young age – but I would not say he was beyond his peers in physical abilities.He had to work at coordination for doing the monkey bars and other sports activities.  His sister is the opposite. I feel she was very strong in coordination, balance, and sports abilities far beyond his when he was the same age. However, she was unable to say her ABC’s and be completely potty trained before the age of 2. That’s ok.

They both have had different life experiences and different exposures. They picked up on different things at different times. However I have made some special attention to make a check list of sorts that I can work with to make sure that my youngest is hitting some important independent skills. Working on independent life skills are just as important as those preschool type of skills and once they are mastered it can really take some weight of mom and dad!

here is a short list of some independent life skills that I am working on with my 2-year-old currently:

  • Brushing teeth
  • brushing hair
  • washing hands
  • washing up while in the bath (this still requires some help especially for washing her own hair!)
  • Putting on socks
  • buttoning coat
  • putting away toys
  • only drinking from regular cups at meal times (no sippy)
  • Putting scraps of paper etc from art in the trash can
  • “help” her brother wash the dishes (she stands on the stool and just puts water on small plastic kids plates and cups)
  • entering and exiting escalators with the help of a parent *

*not being carried on or off. this task is actually very important for us and if we were currently in the U.S. I would probably skip this at this young age out of fear. However living in Tokyo means small areas with large crowds and many are not stroller friendly places.

She is getting to be too big for baby wearing in some crowded situations like trains and subways. In situations like this we may have to change trains or subways on different levels (underground to high floor or street level) and we will not have the option for an elevator.

So in this situation being able to hold a parents hand and approach an escalator is necessary, although I wish it wasn’t!

  • Transitioning to the big girl bed without fears or tears! 🙂

Many of these things seem like no brainers but maybe there are some other parents out there, who just like me, don’t always realize they were buttoning the six large buttons on their Childs coat about a million times a day! I realized doing everything for her allllll the time was not doing her or myself any favors! I am making a conscious effort to assist her in becoming more independent. She also is very proud when she assists and even sometimes completes these tasks on her own. That is probably a short list and I am missing many but those are some things that she is getting pretty successful at and it sure does help when we are going through the daily motions!
Another fun tidbit about toddlers being independent is getting the shoes on the correct feet. I should mention that in Japan many of the shoes sold here have a little animal face on the inside. This helps toddlers learn which shoe goes on which foot. She can just make the monkey face with her shoes and then they will be on correctly. if only all shoes had this great little idea!

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