Your 2-Year-Old

Social Emotional

As his mind and body grows, his social and emotional well-being does, too. Your toddler is undergoing many changes right now, often coupled with some big feelings. Through all of that, he’s learning how to provide for his own wants and needs while also honoring the others’ needs. It might be as simple as sharing a beloved toy with a friend or expressing his feelings verbally. But your little one is navigating how to be a friend to himself…and to others!

Child Care Staff Gifts: What They Really Want!

I’m Feeling All the Feelings.

“She crying,” your toddler explains with a worried frown on her face. She’s noticed her playmate in distress and come to you with her concern. Her sense of empathy is beginning to develop. That means that she readily reacts to other people’s displays of happiness, joy, pain or sadness. And she’s ready and willing to use new words to describe how she’s feeling, too! “I happy.” “I sad.” “I no want to go.” Perhaps she’s exhibiting a little bit of defiance? That’s actually a positive thing! She’s showing her healthy independence by sometimes resisting adult control.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Do teachers encourage children to express their emotions - small and big feelings? To express their needs without fear of negative repercussion? Do they guide those feelings with appropriate language, patience and compassion?

I Can Do It Myself.

Watch your toddler when he becomes frustrated. Does he always come to you for help, or is he beginning to work through some roadblocks on his own? Being able to self-soothe and regulate some of his initial impulses and big feelings is a definite sign of emotional growth! He still relies on you for so much, but he’s also learning to rely on himself, too.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Take careful note of the overall classroom energy. Are the majority of the children able to follow routines and control their emotions? Or are there one or two children whose emotional outbursts affect the entire class?

Let’s Work This Out Together.

Is it time for her to play with the stuffed dog, or is it her friend’s turn? When a toddler tug-of-war ensues, help your little one navigate the conflict with calm reassurance. As you suggest different ways for her to create a win-win situation, she’s learning how to cross waters that aren’t always calm. And that’s a life skill that will keep her afloat for years to come!

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Notice how often conflicts occur and how teachers handle them. Does the teacher ask questions to help the children find their own solutions to the problem? You should expect to see adults modeling healthy conflict resolution behaviors.

My Relationships Matter to Me.

He trusts that when you leave him in someone else’s care, you’re coming back to get him. He feels safe in the company of other familiar adults. And he’s beginning to understand how to build his first friendships. Your toddler is building relationships — and the skills they require — that will serve him now and in the future!

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Empathy. Care. Open Communication. Are all these skills being modeled in the classroom? It’s important that teachers and children genuinely enjoy being together throughout the day, and that children feel comfortable asking for support when they need it.

All children learn and grow at their own pace and in their own way. For more information about the skills and milestones for your child's age check out our developmental milestones resource page. If you continue to have concerns or questions please give us a call at 1-800-299-1627.