The Ages 2-3: Stages of Development of Children

A Guide to Developmental Considerations at Various Ages and Stages of Development of Children.

Part Four: Two to Three Years

Child’s Developmental Considerations

  •  Developing fine motor skills (drawing, coloring, using scissors).

  • Increasing gross motor skills and coordination (throwing and kicking a ball).

  • Developing language to four- to six-word sentences.

  • Exploring the world through play.

  • Developing self-control, such as calming themselves when upset.

  • Continuing to develop a sense of independence, which may include saying “no” or not cooperating.

  • Increasing desire to do more for self, such as wanting to use a fork or wanting to pick out what to wear.

  • Understanding simple two-step directions.

  • Engaging in imaginative and pretend play.

  • Expressing feelings in a physical way such through tantrums.

  • Wanting to control their world or environment, which may be seen as resistance to all change including transitions between parents.

  • Beginning potty training.

  • Continuing to use parents and other important caregivers to help manage their emotions and stress, and to help them increase their comfort with new experiences.

  • Learning rules, limits, and boundaries set by caregivers.

  • Tolerating longer separations from each parent.


Parenting Time Considerations

  • Children need patient, consistent, loving, and supportive care by creating an environment with clear structure and consistent, predictable routines.

  • Children benefit from reminders that the other parent has not disappeared, will return, and continues to love them.

  • When stressed, children may return to using behaviors from an earlier age or be unable to learn new skills. For example, a child who recently learned to walk begins crawling again, or a child who is toilet trained begins having accidents.

  • Major changes in the child’s life or environment can impact the child’s readiness for and success at learning potty training.

  • Moving between parents’ homes may be difficult for some children at this age, and they may become upset. This does not necessarily mean that the other parent isn’t a good parent or that the child doesn’t want to be with the other parent.

  • Frequency of parenting time continues to be important.