A Checklist for a Two-Year-Old's Needs

A two-year-old child has passed such major developmental milestones as the ability to play make-believe, move around on his own power and feed himself. Growth and development have slowed down a bit compared with the first two years, but the two-year-old still has a lot of growing left to do. Needs a two-year-old-should have fulfilled every day include nutrition, adequate sleep, playtime and caregiver reinforcement.


Your two-year-old's stomach is about the size of her fist. When it's full, she will stop eating. Each day, offer her whole grains, legumes, nuts or seeds, dairy, fresh fruit, greens, other vegetables and protein. Try to avoid foods with little or no nutritional value such as fruit punch, candy, cookies and chips made with a lot of sugar, salt or white flour. Many children become picky eaters at this age. If the only foods kept in the house are healthy choices, she will find something she likes to eat.


A two-year-old needs a lot of free play time each day. Climbing and running help him develop gross motor skills. Drawing and painting prepare him to learn to write. As he plays, he will learn about the world around him and how it works. Simple but essential lessons such as cause and effect, physics, problem-solving and creativity are learnt through play. Offer toys that enrich these lessons, such as musical instruments, balls, shape sorters, kitchen sets, paper and crayons.


Your two-year-old requires about 13 hours of total sleep each 24-hour period. For most, this will include sleeping through the night and taking an afternoon nap. If your child is not getting close to this amount, add the morning nap back or put her to bed earlier. Every child is unique, and many two-year-olds will need more and sometimes even less sleep than this guideline. Typically, a child who becomes cranky and resists bedtime is not getting enough sleep.


A two-year-old needs active, consistent reinforcement to give him reassurance and encouragement as he discovers his expanding world. Eat healthy food with him to set an example and praise good choices. Sit on the floor with him to guide his exploration through play. Stay consistent with bed and nap times to help him learn routines and good sleeping habits.

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About the Author

Renée Winn has served as a licensed stock broker, securities principal and corporate trainer for a large online brokerage. She is a regular contributor to several business content websites. Winn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.