Your Talking Child

  • Talk about and describe pictures in books and the things you see and hear together.
  • Parent-child play, where the child leads, is the best way to help toddlers learn to talk.
  • Read to your child every day.
  • Your child may love hearing the same story over and over.
  • Ask your child to point to things as you read.
  • Stop a story to let your child make an animal sound or finish a part of the story.
  • Use correct language; be a good model for your child.
  • Talk slowly and remember that it may take a while for your child to respond.

Your Child and TV

  • It is better for toddlers to play than watch TV.
  • Limit TV to 1–2 hours or less each day.
  • Watch TV together and discuss what you see and think.
  • Be careful about the programs and advertising your young child sees.
  • Do other activities with your child such as reading, playing games, and singing.
  • Be active together as a family. Make sure your child is active at home, at child care, and with sitters.


  • Be sure your child’s car safety seat is correctly installed in the back seat of all vehicles.
  • All children 2 years or older, or those younger than 2 years who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car safety seat, should use a forward- facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.
  • Everyone should wear a seat belt in the car. Do not start the vehicle until everyone is buckled up.
  • Never leave your child alone in your home or yard, especially near cars, without a mature adult in charge.
  • When backing out of the garage or driving in the driveway, have another adult hold your child a safe distance away so he is not run over.
  • Keep your child away from moving machines, lawn mowers, streets, moving garage doors, and driveways.
  • Have your child wear a good-fitting helmet on bikes and trikes.
  • Never have a gun in the home. If you must have a gun, store it unloaded and locked with the ammunition locked separately from the gun.

Toilet Training

  • Signs of being ready for toilet training
    • Dry for 2 hours
    • Knows if she is wet or dry
    • Can pull pants down and up
    • Wants to learn
    • Can tell you if she is going to have a bowel movement
  • Plan for toilet breaks often. Children use the toilet as many as 10 times each day.
  • Help your child wash her hands after toileting and diaper changes and before meals.
  • Clean potty chairs after every use.
  • Teach your child to cough or sneeze into her shoulder. Use a tissue to wipe her nose.
  • Take the child to choose underwear when she feels ready to do so.

How Your Child Behaves

  • Praise your child for behaving well.
  • It is normal for your child to protest being away from you or meeting new people.
  • Listen to your child and treat him with respect. Expect others to as well.
  • Play with your child each day, joining in things the child likes to do.
  • Hug and hold your child often.
  • Give your child choices between 2 good things in snacks, books, or toys.
  • Help your child express his feelings and name them.
  • Help your child play with other children, but do not expect sharing.
  • Never make fun of the child’s fears or allow others to scare your child.
  • Watch how your child responds to new people or situations.

What to Expect at Your Child’s 21/2 Year Visit

We will talk about

  • Your talking child
  • Getting ready for preschool
  • Family activities
  • Home and car safety
  • Getting along with other children
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