The Foundation Years Trust - Parents of 0-5s

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Everyday Adventures for 2-3 year olds

Expressing emotions

Your child is going through lots of emotions while also learning about other people’s feelings. Temper tantrums are normal, because children often don’t know how to put words to ‘big’ emotions like frustration, anger, embarrassment, guilt and shame. At this age you will probably see a lot of frustration as children don’t always have the words for or are unable to express how are they are feeling. Because play is the natural way children learn and develop, playing with your toddler gives them a chance to express and practise managing feelings.

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Things you can do: Play with puppets, encourage your child to play with other children who are of a similar age, read stories together, play outdoors were they can have the space to run and tumble around. 

Talk time

Your two-year-old might be able to use sentences of 2-3 words and say ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘me’. They will enjoy naming everyday things like ‘doggy’, ‘car’ and ‘drink’. They will be learning and using lots of words and will be easier to understand when talking. Your child will also be able to understand and follow simple requests like ‘bring your bag’. Children respond best to encouragement and interest, rather than being corrected or being made fun of, so try to avoid correcting your toddler’s mistakes too often.

Things you can do: Talk together, singing songs or nursery rhymes, share stories together, listen, use language that your child understands, build on basic words – for example, when they say ‘bus’, you can say, ‘Yes, it’s a big blue bus’. Go on a sound walk, see what you can hear together whilst out and about. Give your child time, they all get there eventually. Trying and making mistakes are important parts of learning.

Letter hunt

Literacy development is an important part of your child’s overall development. It links very closely with communication and language development too. Before your child learns to read and write, they need to develop the building blocks for literacy – the ability to speak, listen, understand, watch and draw. Give lots of opportunities for your child to make marks whether it’s on paper, in water, outdoors in mud etc. This will support  early writing skills.

Things you can do: Literacy skills are learned best through everyday moments with your child. Read books together -ask questions about the pictures. When out and about look for letters, shapes and numbers around them for example on doors signs and car registration plates. Remember you don’t have to just read books you can look at comics, cereal boxes, catalogues, menus and newspapers. Provide different things to make marks with for example, chalk, crayons, water or mud. 

Sorting and matching

Children use early maths skills throughout their daily routines and activities. Numeracy skills involve understanding numbers, counting, solving number problems, measuring, sorting, noticing patterns, adding and subtracting numbers and so on. Children learn best when they’re interested in something. For example, if your child is interested in cars, dinosaurs, block play you can use these to explore maths concepts whilst playing together.

Things you can do: Encourage your child to help match the socks when doing the washing. Ask your child to count out the cutlery at meal times. Use different sized jugs and plastic cups at bath time and support your child in filling and pouring water in and out of each one. Look for numbers and shapes when out and about. Build a den together and use lots of mathematical language when doing so such as high, big, round, under and ask your child to get ‘2 pegs’ etc. 

Taking risks

Your child can run now and will probably fall less. Perhaps they've started to walk up and down stairs, but will sometimes use the rail for balance (as well as safety!). Your child is now better at throwing overarm, kicking and catching a ball, and might even stand on one foot for a few seconds. Children feel more confident to explore their surroundings if you're around and will feel safe and reassured to do so. This helps your child to build confidence to try new things and explore on their own.

Things you can do: Encourage your child to take appropriate risks, such as climbing the steps to the slide, set up mini assault courses, ensure your child is supervised. 

Beginning to be independent

Around this time, your child is keen to do more things for themselves. For example, your child can probably wash their own hands, wash themselves at bath time, feed themselves and get dressed although they're probably better at taking clothes off than putting them on! Your child is still learning so might still need some help. Start with one item of clothing at a time for example putting on socks, when confident doing this then move on to another item of clothing.

Things you can do: Encourage your child attempt tricky things such as buttons and zips. Let them help with chores around the house; for example the brushing up. Children love to help and feel proud of themselves when doing so. Use lots of praise and encouragement.