Family meals are important for your child. Letting your child eat with you makes her feel like part of the family. Let your child feed herself. It is good to let your child help choose what foods to eat. Be sure to give her only nutritious foods to choose from. Lower fat content in milk and other dairy products is often a good idea. Ask your healthcare provider about 2% or skim milk.
It is very important for your child to be completely off a bottle. Ask your healthcare provider for help if she is still using one.
Two-and-a-half year olds often have lots of energy and curiosity; yet they often lack social and language skills to know the limits of appropriate behavior. As such, this is a time when parents and child alike need lots of support. A parent needs lots of energy, patience and interest in teaching her child.
Some children show signs that they are ready for toilet training. When your child starts reporting wet or soiled diapers to you, this is a sign that your child prefers to be dry. Praise your child for telling you. Toddlers are naturally curious about other people using the bathroom. If your child seems curious, let him go to the bathroom with you. Buy a potty chair and leave it in a room in which your child usually plays. It is important not to put too many demands on the child or shame the child about toilet training. When your child does use the toilet, let him know how proud you are.
Testing the rules and limits is common. Parents need to be consistent in following through with reasonable rules. Rules should not be too strict or too lenient. Enforce the rules fairly every time. Be gentle but firm with your child even when the child wants to break a rule. Many parents find this age difficult, so ask your healthcare provider for advice on managing behavior.
Here are some good methods to help children learn rules and keep them safe:
Spend time teaching your child how to play. Encourage imaginative play and sharing of toys, but don't be surprised that 2-and-one-half year-olds usually do not want to share toys with anyone else.
Mild stuttering is common at this age. It usually goes away on its own by the age of 4 years. Do not hurry your child's speech. Ask your healthcare provider about your child's speech if you are worried.
It is important to set rules about television watching. Limit total TV time to 1 hour per day. Watch television shows with your child. Ask your child questions about what the characters were doing and how they were feeling. Children should not be allowed to watch shows with violence or sexual behaviors. Find other activities you can do with your child. Reading, hobbies, and physical activities are good alternatives to TV.
Child-proof the home. Go through every room in your house and remove anything that is either valuable, dangerous, or messy. Preventive child-proofing will stop many possible discipline problems. Don't expect a child not to get into things just because you say no.
Fires and Burns
Routine infant vaccinations are usually completed before this age. However some children may need to catch up on recommended shots at this visit. Children over 6 months of age should receive an annual flu shot. At age four, your child will need additional vaccinations. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions about whether your child needs any vaccines.
A three-year old check-up is recommended. Bring your child's shot card to all visits.