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At the 2-year checkup, the healthcare provider will examine the child and ask how things are going at home. At this age, checkups become less frequent. So this may be your child’s last checkup for a while. This sheet describes some of what you can expect.
The healthcare provider will ask questions about your child. And he or she will observe your toddler to get an idea of the child’s development. By this visit, your child is likely doing some of the following:
Using 2-word sentences (about half of what the child says should be understandable)
Recognizing the names of body parts and the sounds animals make
Running, climbing, and pulling himself or herself up
Using both hands, arms, and legs about the same amount in most cases (it’s normal to prefer one hand for eating and coloring)
Becoming more stubborn and testing limits
Playing next to other children, but likely not interacting (this is called “parallel play”)
Don’t worry if your child is picky about food. This is normal. How much your child eats at one meal or in one day is less important than the pattern over a few days or weeks. To help your 2-year-old eat well and develop healthy habits:
Keep serving a variety of finger foods at meals. Be persistent with offering new foods. It often takes several tries before a child starts to like a new taste.
If your child is hungry between meals, offer healthy foods. Cut-up vegetables and fruit, cheese, peanut butter, and crackers are good choices. Save snack foods such as chips or cookies for a special treat.
Don’t force your child to eat. A child of this age will eat when hungry. He or she will likely eat more some days than others.
Switch from whole milk to low-fat or nonfat. Ask the healthcare provider which is best for your child.
Your child should drink around 12-16 ounces of milk per day. Drinking more milk than this can be unhealthy. Milk should not take the place of a meal.
Besides milk, water is best. Fruit juice should be limited to 4-6 ounces of 100% juice per day. Don’t give your toddler soda.
Do not let your child walk around with food. This is a choking risk and can lead to overeating as the child gets older.
Many 2-year-olds are not yet ready for potty training, but your child may start to show an interest within the next year. A child often signals that he or she is ready by regularly complaining about dirty diapers. If you have questions, ask the healthcare provider.
Brush your child’s teeth at least once a day. Twice a day is ideal (such as after breakfast and before bed). Use a pea-sized drop of fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush designed for children.
If you haven’t already, take your child to the dentist.
By 2 years, your child may be down to 1 nap a day and should be sleeping about 8-12 hours at night. If he or she sleeps more or less than this but seems healthy, it’s not a concern. At this age your child no longer needs nighttime feedings. To help your child sleep:
Make sure your child gets enough activity during the day. Remember, an active child is a tired child! Talk to the healthcare provider if you need ideas for active types of play.
Follow a bedtime routine each night, such as brushing teeth followed by reading a book. Try to stick to the same bedtime each night.
Do not put your child to bed with any drink other than water.
If getting your child to sleep through the night is a problem, ask the healthcare provider for tips.
Don’t let your child play outdoors without supervision. Teach caution around cars. Your child should always hold an adult’s hand when crossing the street or in a parking lot.
Protect your toddler from falls with sturdy screens on windows and gates at the tops and bottoms of staircases. Supervise the child on the stairs.
If you have a swimming pool, it should be fenced. Gates or doors leading to the pool should be closed and locked.
At this age children are very curious, and are likely to get into items that can be dangerous. Keep latches on cabinets and make sure products like cleansers and medications are out of reach.
Watch out for items that are small enough to choke on. As a rule, an item small enough to fit inside a toilet paper tube can cause a child to choke.
Teach your child to be gentle and cautious with dogs, cats, and other animals. Always supervise the child around animals, even familiar family pets.
In the car, always use a car seat. All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.
Keep this Poison Control phone number in an easy-to-see place, such as on the refrigerator: 800-222-1222.
Based on recommendations from the American Association of Pediatrics, at this visit your child may receive the influenza (flu) vaccination.
Over the next year, your child’s speech development will likely kick into high gear. Each month, your child should learn new words and use longer sentences. You’ll notice the child starting to communicate more complex ideas and to carry on conversations. To help develop your child’s verbal skills:
Read together often. Choose books that encourage participation, such as pointing at pictures or touching the page.
Help your child learn new words. Say the names of objects and describe your surroundings. Your child will pick up new words that he or she hears you say. (And don’t say words around your child that you don’t want repeated!)
Make an effort to understand what your child is saying. At this age, children begin to communicate their needs and wants. Reinforce this communication by answering a question your child asks, or asking your own questions for the child to answer.
Talk to the healthcare provider if you’re concerned about your child’s speech development.
Next checkup at: _______________________________