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2yo's development worries(11 Posts)
I had a friend round who has a girl the same age as my boy. It's the first time I've had a chance to make any kind of direct comparison, and I was struck by how good she was with toys, how she listened to get mum, followed instructions, and she seems so much older than my boy.
Whereas mine is constantly hyperactive, doesn't listen to us at all or even give any indication that he even understands or sometimes that he has even heard us, doesn't play with his toys but prefers to throw or bash them, and also just generally seems more baby-like.
DH noticed too and he's really worried that we're being too lax with behaviour, breastfeeding, sleeping. I've been following a gentle parenting approach and DH has just gone with me, but now he wants to follow the approach my friend takes, which is more conventional.
We thought he'd been doing fine until now, a bit too energetic but he's picking up words and is very observant and active. Now I'm not sure. Is the difference in behaviour partly down to gender and partly down to normal differences in development rates, or should we be modifying our own behaviours and be sterner? I mean, we've tried to be stern in some things, but not seen any results, so there doesn't seem to be any point in being stern with everything.
I can only speak from my limited experience, having a 2 year old girl myself, but I would be amazed if a different approach to discipline would have a great deal of impact on his attention span. I honestly don't think my 2 year-old (who in many ways is like the little girl you describe) would understand 'discipline' like a naughty step or time-out, if that's what you mean by 'conventional'. If she's doing something potentially dangerous, I tell her not to (sharply) and physically stop her doing it, I repeat rules like "hold Mummy's hand when we're crossing the road" until she memorises them and I tell her (simply) why she shouldn't do things which I don't want her to do (e.g. "throwing food on the floor is very silly") and don't give her any attention for doing them. Is there really very much more you can do with a 2 year-old? I can't see any point in being stern with everything - I think you have to pick your battles a little bit and I think it would suck the happiness out of parenting in a way which is counter-productive.
In relation to his responding to instructions/attention span generally - I think the main questions are whether he's on track generally with his development (e.g. have you had a 2 year check with the health visitor) and whether his hearing is ok. But so long as you talk to him, read to him and engage with him (as I am sure you do) it doesn't sound to me like this is anything to do with your style of parenting.
If he sleeps poorly, I suppose it's possible that over-tiredness could contribute to a short attention span, but so could, you know, being 2 years old. And I don't for a moment imagine that breastfeeding has anything to do with it!
Sorry not to be able to say anything more conclusive, but wanted to offer a bit of support.
On average girls tend to develop their speech and social skills faster than boys (it is linked to them being latter to roll over from their backs than boys so spend more time looking up at their mums face in the first six months). Being hyperactive and full energy is totally typical, more some babies than others but totally typical. However, at 2 years old he needs to be meeting some really critical milestones. He needs to be understanding simple instructions (so things like; give me the book, sit down, close the door, jacket/shoes off, etc...), he needs to point to both request (things he wants), and to share excitement (like a plane in the sky), display joint attention skills (including social referencing), display appropriate use of toys including simple imaginative skills (for examples feeding teddies, pretend to use a block as a phone, pretend use a box as a hat, etc), etc. None of these milestones will be affected by discipline, breastfeeding, or being hyperactive.
You mentioned that he is picking up words? this is really positive! is he using these words to communicate? is he starting to put two related words together? (like for example "red stop" or "go green")
Thank you both for your reassurances. To answer your questions...
He's not yet had his 2y review yet - I guess we should try not to worry too much until the HV tells us to.
We try to give him instructions but I can't tell if he ignores us or doesn't understand. He will sometimes respond to a stern no when he's doing something dangerous, like climbing something he shouldn't, but often he'll immediately pop back up again.
he needs to point to both request (things he wants), and to share excitement (like a plane in the sky)
He does these. I'm not sure about social referencing - how do I check for this?
display appropriate use of toys including simple imaginative skills (for examples feeding teddies, pretend to use a block as a phone, pretend use a box as a hat, etc)
He chucks all his toys, or tips them 🤦. But he was babbing into a telephone today, can do puzzles, play with musical instruments, not seen that much that is imaginative and he likes doing the laundry.
He can point and has a decent vocabulary but needs lots of prompting as he doesn't always use it even though I know he can say it. He's used "please" from about one, but it's been hard to get him to use other words to communicate consistently since. So for example, he'll be hungry, point to the table so I know he wants milk. I'll ask him if he wants milk (and do the sign for it), try to get him to say it, which does sometimes, and then give it to him. But he won't just ask for it next time, he'll always start with pointing. (Sometimes he'll randomly make the sign.) Am I expecting too much/too little? He's not putting two words together yet. 🙁
Can you recommend a source or book when I can read a bit more about developmental milestones? I'm signed into a few mailings that tell me what to expect each month but they are not as detailed as your posts.
I read a lot of books about baby's first year when I had the time. Now that he's a toddler we are just exhausted from running after him and keeping him entertained, no time to read! We've been thinking that he's obviously picking up and doing be things, he's probably fine. But after yesterday I feel like I should be making more of an effort.
I find this really interesting and useful - it's guidance for nurseries etc which sets out rough expectations of different age ranges in lots of different areas www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2012/03/Development-Matters-FINAL-PRINT-AMENDED.pdf .
@Mummy53757857 many of the things in your reply sound very positive! specially pointing to share and request, that is excellent. Babbling into a phone or doing the laundry is what is referred to as functional play (they copy what they see). Hopefully his imaginative play will come along soon as it is very important for later development - you can encourage him by giving him a tea set or play kitchen and showing him how to cook pretend food and feed it to himself and you or have a pretend tea party, a lot of fun, and very positive for him, at first he will probably just push it aside but persist Social referencing is when a child is spooked by an event and will instantly look at you as if to gain reassurance that everything is OK. For example, if the room is quiet and the door bell rings, in this scenario, a toddler will usually look at you with a worried face as if saying "what is that?!" (unless he is already very used to the door bell). Another important milestone is if he can follow a point? so if you point behind him or to the side while saying "look" will he turn to roughly look in your direction? (this is important as toddlers with some development disorders like autism really have a hard time following a point).
Understanding can be difficult to measure as like you say, sometimes they just don't want to do it, specially strong willed toddlers, they can be very stubborn. But generally, toddlers are born socially motivated and hence love to please and will actively seek praise, and will readily "obey" in game/fun environments - so for example, will he point to the clock if you sing to him "dickery dock" and ask him "where is the clock?". These types of instructions as used by clinicians to gage the understanding of a (stubborn) toddler. One thing to note here is that it would be concerning if his expressive language (speech) was developing faster than his receptive language (understanding) as that would present atypical development.
Have you taken the ASQ 24M test? that would show you a rough guide of what is expected of him at 24M.
ASQ 24M -> www.bournemouth.gov.uk/childreneducation/working-in-childcare/EarlyYearsDocuments/24-month-questionnaire-asq-3-be-av-1-1-15.pdf
Results -> www.bournemouth.gov.uk/childreneducation/working-in-childcare/EarlyYearsDocuments/24-month-summary-sheet-asq-3-be-av-1-1-15.pdf
This is the EYFS that my nursery use www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2015/03/4Children_ParentsGuide_2015_WEB.pdf
Please don’t be sterner with him; if his friend is further ahead developmentally it’s not his fault. It’s absolutely normal. They are all different. Being strict with him won’t achieve anything positive.
He sounds like he’s doing really well.
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