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Toddler Care: Your 28 Month Old Toddler

Mar 02, 2022 | 2 Minutes Read

Be prepared for more dress up this month as your toddler morphs themselves into whatever their little imagination desires. This is a highly imaginative and make-believe age where reality and fantasy can have blurry edges. Your toddler may resist going to bed because they “see” things in their room. They might wake up after having vivid dreams or tell you wonderful stories about themselves. All of this is due to the power of their imagination and their world of make-believe. You will find they are still very egocentric and not always fond of playing interactively with other small children. Protests will be common when there are groups of them together as getting along takes time, learning, and maturity.

If reality is more your thing, you may find all this a bit hard to take. But for a 28-month-old, processing what is real can be a very big task. It takes time and brain maturity for them to fully appreciate a more concrete world than the one in their imagination. Try to enjoy this phase. It doesn’t last, and, before too long it is taken over by the need to question why everything is as it is.

This is also the age of constant busyness, drifting from one task to another with no plan or intent. Some parents worry that their toddler can’t sit and concentrate on one thing for very long, but this is entirely appropriate. With maturity, your toddler will develop skills in self-control and concentration along with emotional regulation. But for now, their world is far too enticing just to sit back and not be right in the middle of it.

Growth and development at 28 months old

Those stacks of blocks will be creeping higher this month as your toddler learns how to balance each one precariously on top of another. Their patience will increase a little and if they’re really interested, they’ll become more absorbed in the play they’re involved in. This means if you call them away from their activity, they may not hear you, or be interested in what you have to say. This can be another cause of tantrums and a battle of wills.

There is more practice this month with fine motor skills. They’re able to pick up small objects and place them down with precision. Running, jumping, hopping, and skipping skills will improve—literally in leaps and bounds! Your toddler’s speech will also be expanding but don’t expect to always understand what they are saying. They will be able to join 5 or more words together in a sentence. If you have a girl, you may notice she is a little more advanced with her speech and language than boys of her age. Variations in development are common between sexes because of the differences in brain physiology.

Play and interaction at 28 months old

Dirt and your toddler will never be too far apart. It’s not until your little one matures more that they will be able to make genuine efforts to keep clean. Be practical in how you dress them. Save your energy and hours doing laundry by keeping play clothes and good clothes separate. Your toddler won’t have the same appreciation as you do for protecting their clothes so avoid unnecessary dramas by matching their clothing with their activity.

Your 28-month-old will benefit from being outside. Gross motor activity will tire them out and help them fall asleep. It will also boost their appetite and make mealtimes more pleasant because they’ll likely eat. Take them with you when you go outside; you can keep an eye on them and involve them in whatever you’re doing. Get them to “help” you with pulling the weeds, watering the garden, and looking for flowers. Play for this age group does not need to be complex. Play is your toddler’s work. Look for activities, rather than structure, that they can engage in.

What You can expect at 28 months old

There will be quick escalations in moods this month as your toddler learns more about how they can influence you. If you are tired and worn out, your resolve to stand firm and stay calm will be challenged. Sometimes it is just easier to give in to our children’s demands and deal with the consequences later. No parent is consistent 100% of the time but try your best to stand firm and not give in; try to do it all with love, patience, and compassion.

Food and nutrition at 28 months old

This is the age where food battles can emerge. In an effort to persuade their toddler to finish a meal or behave in a certain way, parents offer food rewards. The problem with doing this is that foods can begin to be seen as “good” or “bad” and have an emotional value assigned to them. These rewards or bribes are often less nutritious and high in salt, sugar, and fat. At 28 months, your child is much better off without these treats.

Some toddlers drink so much milk that it impacts on their appetite for other needed foods. Milk is low in iron and anemia is a common condition at this age. Occasionally, a blood test will be needed and iron supplements prescribed. It can take a long time for a child’s red blood cell count to improve with increased dietary iron and supplements are often necessary.

This may be the month when the highchair gets packed away and a booster seat is added to the table. It is very important to include your children in mealtime conversation, but do not let them monopolize it. Encourage everyone to take a turn in talking about their day. For busy families, mealtimes may be the only time when everyone can connect with each other. Make it a household rule that the television and cellphones are off and the focus is on the food and people.

Keeping your toddler healthy at 28 months old

Encourage your toddler to sit quietly when they eat. They are still too young to fully appreciate what having good table manners means. Plus, running around with food in their mouth is risky and can lead to choking. Consider enrolling in a first aid and CPR course. If you have a swimming pool, make sure the self-closing gates are consistently latched and locked. Now might be a good time to look into swim lesson for safety. Small measures such as this really can contribute to saving lives.

General tips

  • Try to have some special one-on-one time each day with your children. This does not have to take long. Investing in these quality interactions is a good way of building your relationship. While you’re at it, try to find 30 minutes for yourself as well.
  • No matter what your 28-month-old tells you, they still need a daytime rest. Even if they don’t fall asleep, some quiet time on their bed with a book is essential—for everyone’s sake!
  • Make a point of putting a hat on your toddler’s head before they go outside to play, no matter if it’s cold or hot. Remind them that they can’t be outside without one and you’re unlikely to have too much of an argument.
  • If you have a new baby in the family, show your toddler what gentle handling is and praise their attempts. Aim to give special loving attention to the toddler as well so they don’t feel they are being left out.
  • Expect some deterioration in their behavior when a new sibling is born. Baby talk is common, as is forgetting everything they’ve learnt about toilet training.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.