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Toddler Care: Your 30 Month Old Toddler

Mar 02, 2022 | 2 Minutes Read

Your little toddler is officially two-and-a-half years old! Although it’s only been 6 months since they had their second birthday, these extra months have added so much to their maturity and development. Their routines will be well established and they’ll have their own special place in the family. Some days you will look at them and think they are all grown up and others you’ll think of them as still being so little.

You’ll never be lonely for company these days. Your toddler will be clearer with their pronunciation, joining more words together in proper sentences, and reducing the amount of baby talk in their conversations. They will also have learned the etiquette of speech and will be more willing to wait until it is their turn to talk. They may look at your mouth when you are talking and try to mimic the sounds you make as well as your facial expressions.

Even their appearance will have changed. Toddlers of this age often have round little faces. They tend to get away with a bit more because they look so innocent. Don’t be fooled, though. Behind those big, beautiful eyes lies a brain that is absorbing every interaction and observation like a sponge. Nothing is wasted on a child of this age. Never doubt that no matter how many other people are involved in your toddler’s life, you are still their most important teacher.

Growth and development at 30 months old

Because your toddler may sound grown up and very clear with their speech, it could be easy to assume they are more mature than they really are. Patience is not a strong point in this age group; if you ask your toddler to wait, they’ll still find it hard to do so. Organization is key to keeping them active and stimulated enough so they don’t get into too much mischief.

Your toddler can name objects more accurately, can copy what you are doing in the house, and ask for their turn when someone is doing something of interest to them. They still won’t be good at sharing and won’t be able to show much empathy when someone else is hurt. They may mimic what they’ve seen you do when they are hurt, however. You’re likely to find them in your closet at least once a day. Watch them as they dress up and involve a whole world of fantasy and make believe in their play.

Play and interaction at 30 months old

At this age your toddler will still be more inclined to play by themselves. They will be able to initiate their own play activities and look less to you for inspiration. They will also make little plans for their play and follow through. If some vital part of a puzzle or game is missing, they will now recognize the problem. Your toddler will feel good when you praise their drawings and handicrafts and will ask you to place them in a prominent place for the family to see. Don’t let them see you throwing their artwork away. They don’t have the ability to understand that one masterpiece looks very much like many others. They can be very sensitive and their feelings can be hurt if they feel any glimmer of rejection.

Your toddler will also be able to tell you what they are planning to do and ask you (repeatedly) to watch them. They will thrive on your attention and actively seek your approval. Children of this age need to feel their parents’ delight in them. Without this as a basis for their ego development they can miss out on important emotional stability. That doesn’t mean you need to constantly be telling them how wonderful they are. Genuine praise and affection from parents and other caregivers is essential through these early years.

What you can expect at 30 months old

Perhaps a little naughtiness has snuck into your toddler’s behavior. They may tell little tales, say they didn’t do something which they clearly did, blame other people, and hide things that they want to keep for themselves. For a toddler, fact and fiction can mesh very closely. They don’t yet have the cognitive ability to place the same value on truth and respect as adults do, so don’t expect more of them than they are capable of. Punishment is inappropriate as your toddler is still too young to link cause and effect in a very clear way. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them gentle and firm messages. Praise them when they return things to the places where they found them and when they tell you what they are up to.

Tantrums are common at this age; their brains are still hard-wired to revert to their primitive state. This means that they can quickly escalate to feelings of anger, despair, and frustration. The wait for these emotional storms to pass can seem like an eternity. It usually pays to stay calm. Ask for support where you need it and don’t become too swept up in your toddler’s emotions. They will look to you for reassurance and stability when their own little world is falling apart.

There are likely to be times when you need to take a long, deep breath and have a few minutes' break from them. Keep a list of names and phone numbers handy so you can talk with another understanding adult.

Food and nutrition at 30 months old

Even if your toddler prefers soft and baby-like foods, keep offering them textures. Eventually, they will learn to accept these foods and not reject them. Unless children have a genuine problem with swallowing or chewing, hypersensitivity to lumps and chunks can be improved by continued exposure. You should also keep a neutral tone and not react too quickly. Role modeling and a healthy approach to food also help.

Keeping your toddler healthy at 30 months old

Toddlers of this age who are toilet trained are still prone to occasional accidents. They can become so preoccupied with their play they put off going to the bathroom until they can’t hold it anymore. Parents can become worried that this is a sign of regression, but it isn’t. Some children just need prompts every now and then to remind them to go.

General tips

  • Get your toddler a tricycle so that they can pedal independently. Mastery and skill development is built through exposure, so consider if the toys you have provided for your toddler are appropriate for their age group.
  • If money is tight, search secondhand stores, websites, and garage sales for used goods. Think about a swap arrangement with friends who have toys that their children have outgrown. Kids get bored with the same toys and the novelty of something new can occupy them for hours.
  • Encourage your partner to play and interact with your toddler. Children learn differently from how different parents communicate with them.
  • Make sure your toddler is in the right car seat for their age and weight. Make sure to check your state’s specific car seat laws.

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.