When we become parents, we all have ideas about the kinds of things that we want to teach our children and the traditions that we want to pass down to them. It's totally subjective and personal. If some of us are sporty and athletic, we dream of the day when our kid will join a soccer or hockey team, and we can't wait to stand there and cheer them on. If we're big-time readers, we want our kids to be bookworms as well. We also want our kids to try the amazing pumpkin pie recipe that has been in our family for generations and to have the experiences that we had growing up.
There is no shortage of lessons that parents want to teach their children. Some of them include how to be a good person and how to grow up knowing to treat others with respect and compassion. Other lessons are more light-hearted, like learning to bake the best chocolate chip cookie ever.
By the time that a child is celebrating their second birthday, many parents have an idea or two about the things that they should know. Read on to find out 20 things that a mom should teach a kid before they turn two years old.
20 What's In A Name?
When it comes to what to teach a child before they turn two, their full name seems like a really good idea. This Reddit post says it all: "Police officer here, please please teach your child their name, last name, and maybe even address, or mommy or daddy's real name."
Part of being a parent is definitely thinking about our child's safety, and it can be scary and nerve-racking to think about these things. But we know that they are extremely important and that we have to. Teaching our child their first and last name will give everyone in the family peace of mind. And it's also just a good idea in general for them to know this.
19 The Sooner The Kid Can Share, The Better
Sharing may be caring and we may all know that sharing is a nice thing to do... but do toddlers really feel that way? Parents are probably laughing right now because we've all had the experience of trying to get a young child to share a toy that they are loving playing with so much. It's almost like they look at us and think, "Are you kidding me? You're actually asking me to share this toy?"
You can teach your kid to share by the age of two, according to Babycenter, and it's a good idea. The sooner that a kid can share, the better, right? Since a two-year-old will be going to daycare at some point and then starting school, sharing is a good skill to have.
18 Kids Should Have A Sleep Schedule Before They Turn Two
Another thing that moms can teach their kids by age two involves getting their beauty sleep. All moms can relate to wanting their children to sleep well so they can get some rest, too. It's the most common parenting experience: not getting enough sleep at different points for various reasons (you have a newborn, you're sleep training them, your toddler is sick, etc.) Sleep is such a big part of our health and everyone in the family needs to be sleeping pretty on a regular basis for sure.
Life Hacker says that kids should have a sleep schedule between the ages of one and six.
17 "Allow the freedom to explore"
We know that part of growing up is allowing children to become more independent and do things on their own, at least sometimes. We might not think that this can happen by age two but it can, and it's an important thing to teach kids.
As Kids Health says, we can help them learn that it's okay to start becoming more independent: "While learning to walk during the second year of life, kids start becoming increasingly independent. But expect your toddler to go from wanting freedom to clinging to you for comfort and reassurance, and back again. Allow the freedom to explore but be there when you're needed."
16 A time-consuming concept that is "honestly" worth it
We all know the saying "honesty is the best policy." We believe that we should all tell the truth and that it's a bad thing to lie. Another thing that a mom can teach her kid by the age of two is that lying isn't a good idea: Baby Center says that teaching your toddler to be honest is important.
It might take some time because it might be a big concept, but it's worth it, and by the time that a kid is ready to go to daycare and then school and be around other kids, knowing how to be honest becomes a really crucial thing.
15 "I taught my daughters my phone number by setting it to a catchy tune"
Moms can also teach kids their address by the time that they have a second birthday party for their adorable little one. As a parent said on Reddit of their own experience, "As each reached about 2 years of age, I taught my daughters my phone number by setting it to a catchy tune. "123-2343, that's the number I call in an emergency". The address was set to a different rhythmic meter, "1, 0, 111, N. Whittier Street!" We haven't lived at that address in years, but they still remember it..."
That sounds so cute and like such a good idea. Anything that helps them remember, right?
14 Gross motor skills (no, they're not icky)
"Gross motor skills" and "fine motor skills" are another thing that moms can teach kids by the age of two. This basically means that kids will be learning to climb and play and also do some small art projects, all things that we are used to seeing toddlers doing.
As Very Well Family says of gross motor skills, "As your child’s muscles develop, so will their climbing skills. Most 2-year-olds can climb over furniture, kick a ball, and run short distances." As for the other type of motor skills, they write, "Most 2-year-olds can scribble, paint, stack at least four blocks, and put round or square pegs into holes."
13 A simple song can lead to a future virtuoso
It's so cool to expose kids to the arts and to see if they have any musical or otherwise artistic talents. By age two, kids can sing "simple songs", according to the CDC.
And we are so there, right? We love hearing our children sing. One of the most popular activities for babies and young children is to take them to a music class, and it's so nice to be around other moms and kids and to watch them start to experience music. Another thing that moms can teach their kids by the time that they reach the toddler age is to sing a song that is easy for them to remember.
12 Empathy can be taught, and they should know by the time they're two
We know that kids can be emotional. We've seen the crying and the tantrums and the range of feelings that they can experience in a pretty short amount of time. They can be so incredibly upset about something and it seems we blink and they're totally fine once again.
Do we think that by the age of two, a child can start feeling for other people? It turns out that they can and this is definitely something else that mothers can teach their kids by the age of two. According to Babycenter, you can teach your kid by age two to care about others.
11 They should learn to differentiate different feelings, too
Very Well Family also says that by age two, kids can show that they have different feelings, and this is part of "development milestones."
It's good for children to understand what it means to be sad and happy and all of the things that we all feel. After all, at a certain point they'll be going off to daycare and then school, and they'll feel different things during those experiences. It's a good idea to get them started early when it comes to understanding feelings. Sure, they're so little so they're still going to have tantrums sometimes and feel things strongly, but that's okay, and it's good to tell them that it's normal to feel emotions.
10 "Bring their own plates to the sink"
All moms would agree that it's really nice when kids are old enough to help pick up toys and to understand that when you make a mess, it's best to clean it up and help out.
This can actually begin to happen around the age of two. Another thing that a mom can teach a child by the age of two is to help around the house a little bit. As this parent put it on Reddit, "How to be self-sufficient. This can start young, having them bring their own plate to the sink or clothes to the laundry and can progress to them cleaning the plate and doing the laundry."
9 Food For (Healthy) Thought
When given the choice between a chocolate chip cookie and a piece of broccoli, any child is most likely going to go with the cookie. Hey, we would probably choose the cookie, too. It can be hard to eat healthy all of the time and to make those decisions, and if we're grown-ups and we're saying that, then we know that it's difficult for little ones.
But moms can for sure get their kids into a healthy eating routine at an early age. A mom can also teach a kid to like healthy food by the time that they have their second birthday. A parent posted in a Reddit thread about what to teach a kid as soon as possible and they said, "Good eating habits."
8 Simon Says "Copy Mom"
Many of us have heard children described as little sponges. That's why it's so hilarious when we hear our kids repeating something that we have said, whether it's a phrase that we're known for saying or a one-off thing. It's even funnier when they say this at a family dinner or event or during the holidays.
Because kids are such sponges, we might see them doing things that we do by the age of two. According to Raising Children, your kid might "copy" you and do things around the house that they see you doing, and teaching them these habits could be a great idea. It's just so cute to imagine this happening.
7 By two, they should definitely be on their way to reading
Like potty training and learning to walk and speak, learning to read is a thing that every child will do. We might be thinking that two years old is too young for a child to be able to read totally and completely on their own. While that is true, Teach Reading Early believes that by the age of two, a child can definitely be on their way to learning how to read.
You can read books to your child and also allow them to pick the books. This is not only awesome bonding time and a really nice way to spend a few hours, but you're teaching them so much. It's great to start this early.
6 They should know how to use spoons and forks
Dinnertime is an important time of day for families. We love to sit around the dining room table (or kitchen table... or kitchen counter if that's how we roll) and have some laughs and a good conversation. Dinnertime can also be a bit chaotic as all parents of young kids know, but it's still an amazing, fun time.
Can your two-year-old feed themselves? They just might be able to. As Raising Children says, "By 18-24 months: 'For example, your child is learning to eat by herself using a spoon and cup, and maybe even a fork – there might even be fewer spills than before!'"
5 "Please," "thank you," and a whole lot more
We all know that manners are a crucial part of socializing. Even us grown-ups are shocked when others simply aren't polite or are downright rude. We know that when you're a kid, you learn manners.
We might be wondering what age a kid can start learning about manners. Family Education advises that kids can say "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me" by the age of two. It makes sense because they will be learning to talk and while they can't exactly speak in huge paragraphs at this point, they can say one or two words, and it's fairly easy for a toddler to say "please" (and really cute, too).
4 "your toddler might be able to say ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘me’"
Watching a toddler learn to talk has got to be one of the cutest things. It's really thrilling to watch our little ones learn language and to see how they put thoughts and sentences together.
By age two, your kid can most likely talk a little bit, and as Raising Children says, "By two years, your toddler might be able to say ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘me’, and use sentences with 2-3 words – for example, ‘Mummy car’ or ‘me do it’." And, of course, we'll be smiling at them the entire time and hoping that they keep talking and talking because it's just so adorable.
3 Kindness is taught, and needs to be taught from an early age
Many of us believe that kindness is one of the most important qualities that a person can have, and that goes for little ones, too. Being kind is an amazing thing to teach our children, and a parent who posted on Reddit believes that "Kindness" is something to teach a child ASAP.
We all have most likely experienced a truly inspiring moment where a young child was incredibly kind. Whether our toddler has asked if we're feeling better when they knew that we were sick or gave a friend their favorite toy, we know that kids are capable of being very sweet.
2 Imagination is developed by then, and moms should encourage it
Many grown-ups say that they are kids at heart. It's a nice way to be for sure. If any of us describe ourselves that way, then we haven't lost our imaginations, our pure joy, and our love of childlike foods such as candy and ice cream.
Raising kids of our own can be so much fun if we allow our children to have a great big imagination. Very Well Family says that by age two, your kid should have an imagination and is able to play games. It's great for moms to teach their two-year-olds that it's enjoyable to play and dream big. We could use the break from real life, too.
1 "That curiosity about things is great"
Another thing that a mom can teach their kid by the time that they turn two years old: to ask questions and wonder about things. As this parent put it on Reddit, "That curiosity about things is great. To continue to question things they don't understand and continue that through life."
This is such a sweet thing to consider. We all know that as we get older, we tend to get a bit more cynical and jaded, but if we can teach our children to hold onto that childhood curiosity for as long as possible, it's only going to be a good thing.
Sources: Reddit.com, Verywellfamily.com, Raisingchildren.net.au, Babycenter.com, Cdc.gov, Kidshealth.org, Lifehacker.com, Familyeducation.com, Teachreadingearly.com